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Your Environment. Your Health.

Arsenic and Chromium Exposure Associated with Kidney Injury Biomarker in Children

Vishal Vaidya, Ph.D.
Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham Women’s Hospital
P30ES000002, R01ES017543

An NIEHS-funded study of children living in north-central Mexico found that higher levels of exposure to arsenic and chromium were associated with elevated levels of kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1), a biomarker being studied as an early sign of kidney injury. The new findings suggest that KIM-1 might serve as a sensitive biomarker for screening children for kidney damage induced by environmental exposures.

The investigators assessed the environmental exposure of 83 children, ages 5 to 12, living in Villa de Reyes, Mexico. They examined levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, fluoride, and lead in urine and blood samples and from drinking water. Exposure to these heavy metals early in life can have long-term health consequences.

The researchers found that levels of arsenic and chromium in the urine samples from the children were even higher than exposure limits set in the Biological Exposure Indices, which the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists to assist in the control of potential workplace health hazards in adults. Although measurements of traditional biomarkers of kidney function were not elevated, KIM-1 was elevated in the children. KIM-1 is thought to be a more sensitive and specific biomarker of kidney injury and was recently qualified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in preclinical studies and on a case-by-case basis for clinical evaluation.

Citation: Citation: Cardenas-Gonzalez M, Osorio-Yanez C, Gaspar-Ramirez O, Pavkovic M, Ochoa-Martinez A, Lopez-Ventura D, Medeiros M, Barbier OC, Perez-Maldonado IN, Sabbisetti VS, Bonventre JV, Vaidya VS. 2016. Environmental exposure to arsenic and chromium in children is associated with kidney injury molecule-1. Environ Res; doi:10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.032 [Online 15 July 2016].

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