Cadmium and High-Fat Diet Disrupt Renal, Cardiac and Hepatic Essential Metals

Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 11;9(1):14675. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-50771-3.


Exposure to the environmental toxicant cadmium (Cd) contributes to the development of obesity-associated diseases. Obesity is a risk factor for a spectrum of unhealthy conditions including systemic metabolic dyshomeostasis. In the present study, the effects of whole-life exposure to environmentally-relevant concentrations of Cd on systemic essential metal distribution in adult mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) were examined. For these studies, male and female mice were exposed to Cd-containing drinking water for >2 weeks before breeding. Pregnant mice and dams with offspring were exposed to Cd-containing drinking water. After weaning, offspring were continuously exposed to the same Cd concentration as their parents, and divided into HFD and normal (low) fat diet (LFD) groups. At 10 and 24 weeks, mice were sacrificed and blood, liver, kidney and heart harvested for metal analyses. There were significant concentration dependent increases in Cd levels in offspring with kidney > liver > heart. Sex significantly affected Cd levels in kidney and liver, with female animals accumulating more metal than males. Mice fed the HFD showed > 2-fold increase in Cd levels in the three organs compared to similarly treated LFD mice. Cadmium significantly affected essential metals levels in blood, kidney and liver. Additionally, HFD affected essential metal levels in these three organs. These findings suggest that Cd interacts with HFD to affect essential metal homeostasis, a phenomenon that may contribute to the underlying mechanism responsible for the development of obesity-associated pathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadmium / pharmacology
  • Cadmium / toxicity
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Kidney / chemistry*
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Liver / chemistry*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Male
  • Metals / chemistry*
  • Metals / isolation & purification
  • Metals / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Myocardium / chemistry*
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors


  • Metals
  • Cadmium