Cadmium nanoparticles citrullinate cytokeratins within lung epithelial cells: cadmium as a potential cause of citrullination in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • David Hutchinson, Judith Müller, Joseph E McCarthy, Yurii Gun'ko, Navin Kumar Verma, Xuezhi Bi, Luisana Di Cristo, Laura Kickham, Dania Movia, Adriele Prina-Mello, Yuri Volkov
  • International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, January 2018, Dove Medical Press
  • DOI: 10.2147/copd.s152028

Cadmium is an important citrullinating agent

What is it about?

Cadmium exposure is associated with a number of diseases. Cigarette smoking is the most important environmental source of cadmium. Therefore smoking related diseases such as COPD and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may be triggered by cadmium exposure. Citrullination an irreversible post-translational modification that is observed in RA and COPD. This paper examines if cadmium oxide generated under the conditions that exist in the burning cigarette citrullinates proteins within lung epithelial cells

Why is it important?

This research is of importance as it may explain the strong epidemiological link that exists between RA and COPD and explain why COPD can progress following smoking cessation as cadmium has a half life of approximately 2 decades.


David Hutchinson
Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust

Under taking this research was an opportunity to determine if collaborative research could be undertaken solely via electronic communication. The research was conceived as a result of clinical observations that individual with RA frequently had both COPD and occupational exposure to cadmium via dust and fume inhalation in the work place. This observation was then passed on to nanoparticle specialists who proved a link between citrullination and cadmium.

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The following have contributed to this page: Navin Kumar Verma, luisana di cristo, and David Hutchinson