Author(s): Martelli A, Rousselet E, Dycke C, Bouron A, Moulis JM
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Abstract Cadmium is found in the environment as part of several, mainly zinc-rich, ores. It has been used in many technological applications, but biological systems generally failed to safely deal with this element. In mammalian biology, cadmium exposure jeopardizes health and mechanisms of cadmium toxicity are multifarious. Mainly because bioavailable cadmium mimics other metals that are essential to diverse biological functions, cadmium follows a Trojan horse strategy to get assimilated. Metals susceptible to cadmium deceit include calcium, zinc, and iron. The wealth of data addressing cadmium toxicity in animal cells is briefly reviewed with special emphasis on disturbance of the homeostasis of calcium, zinc, and iron. A limited number of tissues and cell types are considered as main targets for cadmium toxicity. Still, the diversity of pathways affected by cadmium exposure points to a more general threat to basic cellular functions. The poor efficiency of cellular export systems for cadmium explains the long residence time of the element in mammals. Therefore, proper disposal and educated uses of this technologically appealing, but biologically malicious, element should be favored in the future. The comprehensive knowledge of cadmium biological effects is indeed a necessary step to protect human and animal populations from environmental and anthropological exposures.
This article was published in Biochimie
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access