Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Effects of co-exposure to extremely low frequency (50 Hz) magnetic fields and xenobiotics determined in vitro by the alkaline comet assay med./bio.

Published in: Sci Total Environ 2006; 361 (1-3): 208-219

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate in vitro the possible genotoxic and/or co-genotoxic activity of extremely low frequency magnetic fields at 3 mT intensity in human peripheral blood leukocytes from 4 different donors.

Background/further details

Two model mutagens were used to study the possible interaction between extremely low frequency magnetic field and xenobiotics: N-methyl-N-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG; 0.05 µg/ml) and 4-nitroquinoline N-oxide (4NQO; 0.8 µg/ml).



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 30, 60 or 120 min

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Exposure duration continuous for 30, 60 or 120 min
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup Culture tubes (16 mm in diameter, 100 mm in length) were placed in the coils in such a way that the cells were situated within the region of maximum homogeneous MF. Sham exposure took place under the same setup with the coils switched off. Control cultures were set-up simultaneously and run at the same time in separate incubators.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 3 mT effective value measured - -

Reference articles

  • Rosenthal M et al. (1989): Effects of 50 Hertz electromagnetic fields on proliferation and on chromosomal alterations in human peripheral lymphocytes untreated or pretreated with chemical mutagens

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Extremely low frequency magnetic field affected the genotoxic activity of MNNG and 4NQO in a different manner: The genotoxicity of MNNG was significantly enhanced by exposure, whereas in the case of 4NQO a decrease in the genotoxicity of this compound was revealed in the presence of an extremely low frequency magnetic field.
Moreover, an increased concentration of glutathione was found in exposed cells. Since it is known that following glutathione conjugation (oxidation of two glutathiones to glutathione disulfide) the genotoxic pattern of MNNG and 4NQO is quite different, an influence of extremely low frequency magnetic field on the activity of the enzyme involved in the synthesis of glutathione leading to a different activation/deactivation of the mutagens used was hypothesized to explain different trends observed in MNNG and 4NQO genotoxic activity in the presence of the magnetic field.

Study character:

Study funded by

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