Plasma lipid peroxidation and erythrocyte antioxidant enzymes status in workers exposed to cadmium

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Background: Cadmium (Cd) is a corrosion-resistant metal, used extensively for electroplating in the automobile, electronic and aerospace industry. Only a few studies are available regarding Cd-induced oxidative stress in animals, but no reports are available regarding the effects of Cd on oxidative stress during occupational exposure.

Objective: The present study was carried out to determine the plasma lipid peroxidation and erythrocyte antioxidant enzymes status in workers exposed to Cd during electroplating.

Methods: 50 subjects exposed to Cd during electroplating formed the study group. An equal number of age-sex matched subjects, working in the administrative section, formed the control group. Urinary Cd levels were determined using the flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Plasma lipid peroxidation and erythrocyte antioxidant enzymes were determined using spectrophotometric methods. Results: A significant increase of plasma lipid peroxidation and a significant decrease of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase levels were noted in the study group compared with the control group. The level of plasma lipid peroxidation was positively and erythrocyte antioxidant enzymes were negatively and significantly associated with Cd levels in urine. Multiple regression analysis assessed the oxidative stress associated with Cd and other lifestyle confounding factors, such as age, body mass index, the consumption of vegetables, coffee, tea, smoking and alcohol. Analysis showed that the lifestyle confounding factors viz; smoking, body mass index and urinary Cd levels >5 µg/g of creatinine, were significantly associated with oxidative stress. Conclusion: The results of the present study suggest that increased plasma lipid peroxidation and decreased superoxide dismutase levels could be used as biomarkers of oxidative stress in cadmium-exposed workers.

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