Cadmium (Cd2+) is a heavy metal that occurs naturally in the earth’s crust and artificially through industrial processes. It has been widely established that Cd2+ adversely affects various bodily systems and organs, in particular, the kidneys; however, the harmful effects of Cd2+ on the developing nervous system have garnered substantial attention more recently. Numerous animal studies have demonstrated that Cd2+ accumulates in the developing brain, induces oxidative stress, and alters neurotransmitter and electrophysiological activity. They have also shown that Cd2+ impairs the activity of enzymes responsible for healthy cellular functioning in various brain regions. These neurochemical changes are often accompanied by unfavorable neurobehavioral outcomes. In recent human studies, prenatal and postnatal Cd2+ exposure has been found to predict poorer outcomes on measures of behavior, cognition, and development during childhood and adolescence. Overall, Cd2+ appears to pose a significant risk to the developing nervous system and measures should be taken to limit exposures to it, particularly early in life.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Developmental Neurotoxicology
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780128094051
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Behavior
  • Cadmium
  • Cognition
  • Development
  • Neurochemistry
  • Neurotoxicity


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