Cadmium Exposure and Blood Telomere Length in Female University Students in Japan


Cadmium is a toxic metal found ubiquitously throughout the world. Our study evaluated whether cadmium exposure was associated with telomere length in 73 female university students. Determination of telomere length was performed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction using DNA in blood. Urinary cadmium concentration was measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The students’ physiological attributes and lifestyle were surveyed by means of a self-administered questionnaire. The geometric mean of urinary cadmium concentration was 0.312 μg/g creatinine, which was lower than the levels previously reported for Japan. Urinary cadmium concentration was not significantly associated with telomere length, though the exposure level of the present subjects was similar to that of previous study subjects which found significantly negative associations. It is possible that other factors affected telomere length in this study population.

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Body mass index


Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry


Polymerase chain reaction

T/S ratio:

Telomere/single copy gene ratio


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We thank the subjects of this study for their cooperation, and Ms. Yoko Nakamura, Faculty of Life Sciences, Toyo University, for helping with the preparation of the collection of samples.


This work was funded by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (grant number 16H05254).

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jun Yoshinaga.

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Conflict of Interest

Shoko Konishi and Jun Yoshinaga have received research grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Yuki Mizuno, Eiji Fujimori, Nobuhiko Kojima and Hideki Imai declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Toyo University, Tokyo Healthcare University, and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tokyo in Japan.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Mizuno, Y., Konishi, S., Imai, H. et al. Cadmium Exposure and Blood Telomere Length in Female University Students in Japan. Biol Trace Elem Res 192, 98–105 (2019).

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  • Cadmium
  • Female university student
  • Japan
  • Blood telomere length