Association between maternal blood cadmium and lead concentrations and gestational diabetes mellitus in the Japan Environment and Children’s Study

  • Tomoko Oguri
  • Takashi Ebara
  • Shoji F. NakayamaEmail author
  • Mayumi Sugiura-Ogasawara
  • Michihiro Kamijima
  • The Japan Environment and Children’s Study Group
Original Article



To examine the association between elevated blood cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) concentrations and increased risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).


This cross-sectional study included pregnant women (n = 16,955) enrolled in the Japan Environment and Children’s Study. Concentrations of Cd and Pb in blood samples collected at 22–28 weeks’ gestation were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. GDM was diagnosed according to the 2011 Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists criteria. Adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using logistic regression analysis.


Blood Cd and Pb concentrations were slightly higher among women with GDM than among those without GDM; however, these differences were not statistically significant. Elevated blood Cd and Pb concentrations were not associated with increased GDM risk in the nulliparous group (Cd OR 0.76; 95% CI 0.28–2.08 for high vs low category; Pb OR 2.51; 95% CI 0.72–8.72) or the parous group (Cd OR 0.64; 95% CI 0.29–1.44; Pb OR 0.31; 95% CI 0.04–2.29).


This study demonstrates that Cd and Pb exposure, in the range of blood levels observed, has no significant relationship with the development of GDM. Further prospective studies would be valuable to confirm these findings.


Cadmium Lead Gestational diabetes mellitus Pregnant women Birth cohort JECS 



We would like to express our gratitude to all of the JECS study participants. We would also like to express our sincere appreciation to the co-operating healthcare providers. The JECS was funded by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. The findings and conclusions of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the official views of the Ministry of the Environment of the Japanese government. The Members of the JECS group as of April 2017 (principal investigator, Toshihiro Kawamoto): Hirohisa Saito (National Centre for Child Health and Development, Tokyo, Japan), Reiko Kishi (Hokkaido Regional Center for JECS, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan), Nobuo Yaegashi (Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan), Koichi Hashimoto (Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Japan), Chisato Mori (Chiba University, Chiba, Japan), Shuichi Ito (Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan), Zentaro Yamagata (University of Yamanashi, Chuo, Japan), Hidekuni Inadera (University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan), Michihiro Kamijima (Nagoya City University, Nagoya, Japan), Takeo Nakayama (Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan), Hiroyasu Iso (Osaka University, Suita, Japan), Masayuki Shima (Hyogo College of Medicine, Nishinomiya, Japan), Yasuaki Hirooka (Tottori University, Yonago, Japan), Narufumi Suganuma (Kochi University, Nankoku, Japan), Koichi Kusuhara (University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan), and Takahiko Katoh (Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomoko Oguri
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Takashi Ebara
    • 2
  • Shoji F. Nakayama
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mayumi Sugiura-Ogasawara
    • 4
  • Michihiro Kamijima
    • 2
  • The Japan Environment and Children’s Study Group
  1. 1.Japan Environment and Children’s Study Programme Office, Center for Health and Environmental Risk ResearchNational Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Occupational and Environmental HealthNagoya City University Graduate School of Medical SciencesNagoyaJapan
  3. 3.Research Institute of Science for Safety and SustainabilityNational Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)TsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyNagoya City University Graduate School of Medical SciencesNagoyaJapan

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