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Increased Serum Cadmium and Strontium Levels in Young Smokers *

Objective— Metal constituents of tobacco have long been suspected to contribute to cardiovascular diseases. In this study, we determined the serum concentrations of aluminum, cadmium (Cd), cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, lead, strontium (Sr), and zinc of young nonsmokers, passive smokers, and smokers.

Methods and Results— Cd and Sr were found to be significantly increased in smokers compared with nonsmokers. The effects of these metals on primary arterial endothelial cells were then assessed using microarray technology and real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The data showed that Sr does not interfere with endothelial cell transcription. In contrast, the effects of Cd in amounts delivered to the human body by smoking were dramatic.

Conclusions— Arterial endothelial cells responded to Cd exposure by massively upregulating metal and oxidant defense genes (metallothioneins) and by downregulating a number of transcription factors. In addition, the mRNA of the intermediate filament protein vimentin, crucial for the maintenance of cellular shape, was reduced. Surprisingly, a number of pro-inflammatory genes were downregulated in response to Cd. The present data suggest that by delivering Cd to the human body, smoking deregulates transcription, exerts stress, and damages the structure of the vascular endothelium; furthermore, in contrast to the effects of cigarette smoke as a whole, Cd seems to possess anti-inflammatory properties.

Cigarette smoking interferes with metal homeostasis of the human body. In this study, we show that serum cadmium and strontium levels are significantly increased in smokers compared with nonsmokers. Further, we analyze the effects of these metals on primary arterial endothelial cell transcription using microarray technology and real-time polymerase chain reaction.


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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 08-18-2009
Authors: David Bernhard; Andrea Rossmann; Blair Henderson; Michaela Kind; Andreas Seubert; Georg Wick
Source: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2006;26:833