The heavy metal cadmium (Cd) a pollutant associated with several modern industrial processes, is absorbed in significant quantities from cigarette smoke, water, food and air contaminations. It is known to have numerous undesirable effects on health in both experimental animals and humans, targeting kidney, liver and vascular system. The molecular mechanism accounting for most of the biological effects of Cd are not well-understood and the toxicity targets are largely unidentified. The present review focuses on important recent advances about the effects of cadmium on mitochondria of mammalian cells. Mitochondria are the proverbial powerhouses of the cell, running the fundamental biochemical processes that produce energy from nutrients using oxygen. They are among the key intracellular targets for different stressors including Cd. This review provides new additional informations on the cellular and molecular aspects of the interaction between Cd and cells, emphasizing alterations of mitochondria as important events in Cd cytotoxicity, thus representing an important basis for understanding the mechanisms of cadmium effect on the cells. © 2009 Mitochondria Research Society.
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