Cadmium, lead, arsenic and selenium levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus

28 May 2019

There is accumulating evidence that the metabolism of several trace metals are altered in diabetes mellitus and these micronutrients might have specific roles in the pathogenesis and progression of the disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the level of toxic elements: lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) levels in whole blood and selenium (Se) (an antioxidant element) in serum of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Fifty diabetic patients and 40 apparently healthy non-diabetic individuals were recruited into this study. After an overnight fasting, blood was collected from each subject and blood/serum concentrations of these elements were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometer after acid digestion. The mean value of Pb and Cd were significantly higher in the serum of diabetic patients when compared with the control (p < 0.01) but there was no significant difference in the concentration of As (p > 0.05). The serum concentration of Se was significantly lower in diabetic patients than in healthy control group (P < 0.01). Also, the concentration of the toxic elements showed positive correlation with fasting plasma glucose (Cd r = 0.378, Pb r = 0.425, p < 0.01) and inverse correlation with serum selenium (r = -0.599, p < 0.01). This study showed that, increased toxic metals are associated with diabetes mellitus. Thus, these elements may play a role in the development and pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus. In addition, depression in antioxidant concentration (especially, Se) may further aggravate this effect.