Epidemiologica1 follow-up studies were carried out to clarify the process and prognosis of renal tubular dysfunction induced by cadmium(Cd) among the people living in Cd-polluted area in Toyama Prefecture, Japan. The concentrations of β2-microglobulin(β2-m) were measured among family members of Itai-itai disease (osteomalacia) patients in 1975 and 1985. The data of 93 persons(43 men, 50 women) were compared in 1985 with those of 1975. 15 persons were followed up from 1975 through 1990. β2-microglobulinuria were observed more frequently in the aged than in young persons. The concentrations of urinary β2-m of the 15 parsons showed similar values in 1975, 1983, 1985 and 1990. Itai-itai disease had developed in a woman who showed severe β2-microglobulinuria during this 15 years. There were some cases, however, which showed a decrease of urinary β2-m concentrations in young people who had not been exposed to heavy dosages of Cd. These results indicate that the renal tubular damage by Cd persists over a long period of time and a long follow-up study is needed to prevent its severe health effects.

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