Metallothioneins (MTs) are proteins that protect cells from toxic agents such as heavy metal ions or reactive oxygen species. MT2A A-5G is a single nucleotide polymorphism in the promoter region of the MT2A gene, and the minor G allele results in lower transcription efficiency. We aimed to elucidate associations between MT2A A-5G and risks of 2 diseases potentially related to lowered MT expression, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and diabetes mellitus (DM), in a community-dwelling population. Study subjects were Nagoya city residents participating in the Japan Multi-Institutional Collaborative Cohort Study (J-MICC) Daiko Study, comprised 749 men and 2,025 women, aged 39-75 years. CKD (>stage 3) and DM were defined by standard guidelines. Associations were evaluated using logistic regression models with adjustments for age, sex and potential confounders in a cross-sectional study, and verified in a 5-year longitudinal study. Odds ratios (OR [95% confidence interval]) were calculated relative to the AA genotype. Serum MT (I + II), Cd and zinc levels were also determined by genotype. The OR of the GG genotype for CKD risk was 3.98 (1.50, 10.58) in the cross-sectional study and 5.17 (1.39, 19.28) in the longitudinal study. The OR of the GA genotype for DM was 1.86 (1.26, 2.75) in the cross-sectional study and 2.03 (1.19, 3.46) in the longitudinal study. MT2A A-5G may be associated with CKD and DM risks. This polymorphism is a promising target for evaluations of CKD and DM risks with possible involvement of low-dose chronic exposure to environmental pollutants.
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