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Cadmium and nickel in blood of Tunisian population and risk of nasosinusal polyposis disease


Nasosinusal polyposis (NSP) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the nasal mucosa. Although the pathophysiology underlying NSP formation is not fully understood, environmental factors appear to be contributed the development of this disease. A case–control study of Tunisian patients was examined to assess the levels of cadmium (Cd) and nickel (Ni) in blood and reparse the association between the exposure to these metals and the risk of nasosinusal polyposis disease. Mean blood levels of Cd in patients (2.2 ± 12.8 μg/L) were significantly higher than those of controls (0.5 ± 0.7 μg/L). Levels of blood Cd were positively correlated with tobacco smoking and chewing among controls. The Cd and Ni concentrations among control (p = 0.001) and patient (p = 0.018) tobacco consumers (smoking, chewing, and shisha) were significantly higher than those nonconsumers. Additionally, Ni blood levels of patient and control smokers were significantly higher than those of nonsmokers. Cd levels in blood samples of NSP patients occupationally exposed for more than 14 years were eight times higher than that of nonexposed. Drinking water was also found to be incriminated as exposure sources. Among risk factors, shisha consumption, environmental exposure, and occupational exposure presented the most significant association with NSP disease (odds ratio (OR) = 14.1, 10.1, and 1.7, respectively). High levels of blood Cd (OR = 3.5) were strongly associated with NSP disease (p = 0.027). Ni blood levels were shown to be associated with the four stages of polyps in both nasal cavities (right and left) (p < 0.05). This investigation suggested a potential role of toxic metals in the mechanism of NSP disease development. Exposure assessment investigations encompassing a wider population are needed.

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This study was supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research, and Technology. We thank all members of the Department of ORL, Habib Borguiba Hospital, Sfax, Tunisia, and especially Dr. Adel Chakroun and Dr Amine Chakroun for their efforts and assistance in recruiting patients.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Rim Khlifi.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Khlifi, R., Olmedo, P., Gil, F. et al. Cadmium and nickel in blood of Tunisian population and risk of nasosinusal polyposis disease. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 3586–3593 (2015).

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  • Nasosinusal polyposis
  • Cadmium
  • Nickel
  • External factors