Experimental studies indicate that zinc (Zn) and calcium (Ca) status, in addition to iron (Fe) status, affect gastrointestinal absorption of cadmium (Cd), an environmental pollutant that is toxic to kidneys, bone and endocrine systems. The aim of this study was to evaluate how various nutritional factors influence the uptake of Cd in women, particularly during pregnancy. The study was carried out in a rural area of Bangladesh, where malnutrition is prevalent and exposure to Cd via food appears elevated. The uptake of Cd was evaluated by associations between erythrocyte Cd concentrations (Ery-Cd), a marker of ongoing Cd exposure, and concentrations of nutritional markers. Blood samples, collected in early pregnancy and 6 months postpartum, were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS). Ery-Cd varied considerably (range: 0.31-5.4 μg/kg) with a median of 1.1 μg/kg (approximately 0.5 μg/L in whole blood) in early pregnancy. Ery-Cd was associated with erythrocyte manganese (Ery-Mn; positively), plasma ferritin (p-Ft; negatively), and erythrocyte Ca (Ery-Ca; negatively) in decreasing order, indicating common transporters for Cd, Fe and Mn. There was no evidence of Cd uptake via Zn transporters, but the association between Ery-Cd and p-Ft seemed to be dependent on adequate Zn status. On average, Ery-Cd increased significantly by 0.2 μg/kg from early pregnancy to 6 months postpartum, apparently due to up-regulated divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1). In conclusion, intestinal uptake of Cd appears to be influenced either directly or indirectly by several micronutrients, in particular Fe, Mn and Zn. The negative association with Ca may suggest that Cd inhibits the transport of Ca to blood.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)