Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

2.45 GHz radiofrequency fields alter gene expression in cultured human cells. med./bio.

Published in: FEBS Lett 2005; 579 (21): 4829-4836

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study whether radiofrequency fields can cause changes in gene expression in cultured human cells. The authors aimed to provide genome-wide coverage of the expressed genes regardless their functional categories in the radiofrequency treated cells to address if radiofrequency has biological effects.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 2.45 GHz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: continuous for 2 or 6 h

General information

The RF exposure system has been described in detail [Gerber et al., manuscript in preparation].

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 2.45 GHz
  • guided field
Exposure duration continuous for 2 or 6 h
Modulation type pulsed
Pulse width 155 µs
Duty cycle 7.5 %
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber The waveguide was filled with a 5% air-CO2 mixture through a hole in its top surface. The bottom of the waveguide was maintained at 37 °C by temperature-controlled water circulating in direct contact with the brass surface through an exterior plastic channel glued to it.
Setup A 25-ml culture flask containing 10 ml of cell suspension was placed inside the waveguide. The bottom of the flask was ground flat and coated with mineral oil to obtain good thermal conduction. The temperature in the bottom surface of the flask monitored by two Luxtron probes was maintained at 37.2 ± 0.2 °C.
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Additional info The cells were allowed to settle down to the bottom of the flask to form a monolayer before exposure. Sham exposure was performed in an identical waveguide for 2 h only.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 10 W/kg mean determined by power loss - -
SAR 133 W/kg peak value calculated - -
electric field strength 320 V/m peak value calculated - -

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The authors revealed that 221 genes altered their expression after a 2 h exposure. The number of affected genes increased to 759 after a 6 h exposure. Functional classification of the affected genes showed that apoptosis-related genes were among the upregulated ones and the cell cycle genes among the downregulated ones. No significant increase in the expression of heat shock protein genes was found.
These data suggest that the radiofrequency fields at 2.45 GHz can alter gene expression in cultured human cells through non-thermal mechanism.

Study character:

Study funded by

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