With 15,000 tons produced each year for batteries, alloys, and pigments, the heavy metal cadmium is one of the most serious environmental pollutants. Chronic exposure can induce kidney damage and bone disease and is thought to cause cancer. A study in the August issue of Nature Medicine now shows that cadmium mimics the effects of estrogen, and suggests that even at relatively low doses cadmium might have wide-ranging effects on the body.
Mary Beth Martin and colleagues report that, in rats, cadmium induces several well-known estrogenic responses. These included increased uterine weight, changes in the endometrial lining and increased density of the epithelia of the mammary gland. Moreover, in utero exposure to cadmium affected mammary gland development and onset of puberty in female offspring. The results provide solid evidence that cadmium has estrogenic effects in the whole animal, and follow up on earlier studies reporting that cadmium and other heavy metals such as nickel interact with the estrogen receptor. The new data also broaden the toxic repertoire of cadmium, which is a known kidney toxin, and was recently shown (Jin et al., Nat. Genet. 34, 326–329; 2003) to impair DNA repair processes in yeast.
The investigators did not perform dose-response studies but they found that cadmium induced potent estrogenic responses in rats at doses (5–10 micrograms per kilogram total weight) comparable to the Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake recommended by the World Health Organization (7 micrograms per kilogram per week). In addition to pinpointing another mechanism for some of cadmium’s effects, the new data could call into question current regulatory standards for cadmium exposure.
Jo Webber | alfa
'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.
Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...
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