Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 3765–3774 | Cite as

Metabolomic analysis of the toxic effect of chronic exposure of cadmium on rat urine

  • Shuai Chen
  • Meiyan Zhang
  • Lu Bo
  • Siqi Li
  • Liyan Hu
  • Xiujuan ZhaoEmail author
  • Changhao SunEmail author
Research Article


This study aimed to assess the toxic effect of chronic exposure to cadmium through a metabolomic approach based on ultra-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (UPLC–MS). Forty male Sprague–Dawley rats were randomly assigned to the following groups: control, low-dose cadmium chloride (CdCl2) (0.13 mg/kg body weight (bw)), middle-dose CdCl2 (0.8/kg bw), and high-dose CdCl2 (4.9 mg/kg bw). The rats continuously received CdCl2 via drinking water for 24 weeks. Rat urine samples were then collected at different time points to establish the metabolomic profiles. Multiple statistical analyses with principal component analysis and partial least squares–discriminant analysis were used to investigate the metabolomic profile changes in the urine samples and screen for potential biomarkers. Thirteen metabolites were identified from the metabolomic profiles of rat urine after treatment. Compared with the control group, the treated groups showed significantly increased intensities of phenylacetylglycine, guanidinosuccinic acid, 4-pyridoxic acid, 4-aminohippuric acid, 4-guanidinobutanoic acid, allantoic acid, dopamine, LysoPC(18:2(9Z,12Z)), and L-urobilinogen. By contrast, the intensities of creatinine, L-carnitine, taurine, and pantothenic acid in the treated groups were significantly decreased. These results indicated that Cd disrupts energy and lipid metabolism. Meanwhile, Cd causes liver and kidney damage via induction of oxidative stress; serum biochemical indices (e.g., creatinine and urea nitrogen) also support the aforementioned results.


Cadmium Metabolomics Chronic exposure Toxicity Rat urine UPLC–MS 



The laboratory of nutrition and food hygiene in Harbin Medical University is the key laboratory of Helongjiang Province and Helongjiang Higher Education Institutions.

Funding information

Financial support from China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment is acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2017_774_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (668 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 667 kb).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, Public Health CollegeHarbin Medical UniversityHarbinChina

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