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    Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic heavy metal, exposure to which leads to adverse health effects including chronic kidney damage. Tremendous efforts have been explored in identifying safe chelating agents for removing accumulated Cd from kidney, but with limited success owing to their associated side effects and the ineffectiveness in eliminating Cd. A newly developed chelating agent, sodium (S)-2-(dithiocarboxylato((2S,3 R,4R,5 R)-2,3,4,5,6-pentahydroxyhexyl) amino)-4(methylthio)butanoate (GMDTC), has been shown to effectively mobilize Cd from kidney. However, the mechanism(s) of removal are unclear, while it has been hypothesized that renal glucose transporters potentially play key roles mainly because GMDTC contains an open chain glucose moiety. To test this hypothesis, we utilized the CRISPR/Cas9 technology and human kidney tubule HK-2 cells, and constructed sodium-dependent glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2) or glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2) gene knockout cell lines. Our data showed that GMDTC's ability in removing Cd from HK-2 cells was significantly reduced both in GLUT2-/- or SGLT2-/- cells, with a removal ratio reduced from 28.28% in the parental HK-2 cells to 7.37% in GLUT2-/- cells and 14.6% in SGLT2-/- cells. Similarly, knocking out the GLUT2 or SGLT2 led to a compromised protective effect of GMDTC in reducing cytotoxicity of HK-2 cells. This observation was further observed in animal studies, in which the inhibition of GLUT2 transporter by phloretin treatment resulted in reduced efficiency of GMDTC in removing Cd from the kidney. Altogether, our results show that GMDTC is safe and highly efficient in removing Cd from the cells, and this effect is mediated by renal glucose transporters.


    Xiaojiang Tang, Bo Xiao, Qile Zhao, Wei Hu, Amber McKenery, Zhiyong Zhong. Renal glucose transporters play a role in removal of cadmium from kidney cells mediated by GMDTC - A novel metal chelator. Human & experimental toxicology. 2023 Jan-Dec;42:9603271231183056

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    PMID: 37295442

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