Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins

2013 Edition
| Editors: Robert H. Kretsinger, Vladimir N. Uversky, Eugene A. Permyakov

Chromium Toxicity, High-Valent Chromium

  • Peter A. Lay
  • Aviva Levina
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-1533-6_2



Chromium(VI) (Cr(VI), hexavalent chromium) is an established human carcinogen and a major occupational and environmental hazard. Toxic properties of Cr(VI) are related to its ability to enter cells easily and to form reactive high-valent (Cr(VI), Cr(V), and Cr(IV)) intermediates on the way to stable Cr(III) products. In recent years, significant progress has been made in the understanding of chemical properties and biological roles of such intermediates, using physicochemical techniques such as electron paramagnetic resonance and X-ray absorption spectroscopies. The potential of biological oxidation of Cr(III) to Cr(VI) (via Cr(IV) and Cr(V)) intermediates has also been recognized as a likely link between the toxicity of Cr(VI) and antidiabetic activities of Cr(III), which highlights the potential danger of long-term use of Cr(III) nutritional supplements.


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The authors are grateful for support from two Australian Research Council (ARC) grants to PAL for an ARC Professorial Fellowship (DP0984722) and for an ARC Senior Research Associate position for AL (DP1095310).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ChemistryUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia