Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Melatonin and N-tert-butyl-alpha-phenylnitrone block 60-Hz magnetic field-induced DNA single and double strand breaks in rat brain cells. med./bio.

Published in: J Pineal Res 1997; 22 (3): 152-162

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study whether treatment with melatonin and N-tert-butyl-alpha-phenylnitrone (PBN) could block the genotoxic effect of magnetic fields on brain cell DNA.

Background/further details

In previous studies the authors have found an increase in DNA single-strand breaks and double-strand breaks in brain cells of rats after acute exposure to a sinusoidal 60-Hz magnetic field (see publication 2063).
Rats were injected with melatonin (1 mg/kg) or PBN (100 mg/kg) immediately before and after two hours of exposure.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 60 Hz
Exposure duration: 2 h

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 60 Hz
Exposure duration 2 h
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • Helmholtz coils
  • two sets, each with 40 turns wound in rectangular loops, 0.86 m x 0.543 m
Chamber plastic cage with styroform cover (45 cm long x 21 cm wide x 22 cm high)
Setup two seperate rooms with two similar exposure systems; the cage placed in the center of the space between the coils
Additional info Helmholtz coil arranged in such a way that it could be switched "in phase" to generate MF or in "bucking mode" to cancel the fields generated by each other. Bucking mode was used as control to determine the effects of heat and vibration.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 140 nT - measured - ambient MF
magnetic flux density 0.5 mT unspecified measured unspecified -

Reference articles

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The data confirmed previous findings that acute exposure to a 60 Hz magnetic field increases DNA single-strand breaks and double-strand breaks in rat brain cells.
Both drug treatments blocked the magnetic field-induced DNA single-strand breaks and double-strand breaks in brain cells. Since melatonin and PBN are efficient free radical scavengers, these findings suggest that free radicals may play a role in magnetic field-induced DNA damage.

Study character:

Study funded by

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