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Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Impact of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on DNA integrity in the male germline.

Published in: Int J Androl 2005; 28 (3): 171-179

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic irradiation on the induction of DNA damage in male germ cells of mice.

Endpoint

Exposure

    • mobile communications
    • GSM
Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 900 MHz
Modulation type: CW
Exposure duration: repeated daily exposure, 12 h/day for 7 days
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Type
Charakteristic
  • guided field
Exposure duration repeated daily exposure, 12 h/day for 7 days
Modulation
Modulation type CW
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber A rectangular waveguide (300 x 300 x 1000 mm) was fabricated from 1 x 1 mm brass mesh glued to an aluminium frame, and the ends were filled with 15 cm thick carbon-impregnated, RF-absorbing foam. The amplifier output was connected through a matching network into a quarter wave mobile phone antenna placed transverse and vertical in the centre of the waveguide. The matching network was tuned using a power/SWR meter.
Setup Four or five mice were placed inside the waveguide in a polycarbonate cage (130 x 160 x 330 mm). The same number of mice were placed outside the waveguide in an identical cage for control.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 85 V/m mean measured - ± 10 V/m along the vertical axis
electric field strength 30 V/m mean measured - ± 10 V/m along the horizontal axis
power density 19 W/m² mean measured and calculated - ± 10 W/m²
SAR 90 mW/kg mean estimated whole body -
Measurement and calculation details
A spectrum analyser and an E-field probe were used to check the radiation levels during exposure. Prior to the experiments, a calibrated single axis probe (electrically short dipole and detector diode) was used to calibrate the E-field probe and to examine the spatial field variations over a grid of 10 cm and 6 cm in the longitudinal and the transverse directions, respectively. The whole-body SAR was estimated using a value of 0.045 W/kg per mW/cm² of irradiation intensity for a prolate spheroid model of a mouse in the H orientation.
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:
Time of investigation:
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The exposed animals kept normal and all assessment criteria (including sperm number, morphology and vitality) were not significantly affected. Gel electrophoresis revealed no gross evidence of increased single-strand breaks or double-strand breaks in spermatozoa taken from exposed mice. However, a detailed analysis of DNA integrity using quantitative PCR revealed statistically significant damage to both the mitochondrial genome and the nuclear beta-globin locus.
The data suggest that radiofrequency electromagnetic irradiation does not have a marked impact on male germ cell development, but a significant genotoxic effect on epididymal spermatozoa is evident and deserves further investigation.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • Australian Research Council (ARC), Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology and Development
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), North Carolina, USA

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