Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) does not affect the expression of alpha3, alpha5 and alpha7 nicotinic receptor subunit genes in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line. med./bio.

Published in: Toxicol Lett 2006; 164 (3): 268-277

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate the effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on the expression of neuronal nicotinic receptors in the human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y (a well-established cellular model to study neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors).

Background/further details

Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are involved in a number of functional processes, including cognition, learning and memory. Alterations in their expression and/or activity have been implicated in various neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia.
The work is part of the REFLEX project (Risk Evaluation of Potential Environmental Hazards From Low Energy Electromagnetic Field Exposure Using Sensitive in vitro Methods), funded by the European Union.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: intermittent, 5 min on 5 min off for 16 h
Exposure 2: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 16 h
Exposure 3: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 48 h

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Waveform
Polarization
Exposure duration intermittent, 5 min on 5 min off for 16 h
Additional info 50 Hz power line signal was based on weighted sum of 50 Hz harmonics up to 1250 Hz and corresponded to the maximum accepted distortion for low to medium voltage power systems defined by International Electrotechnical Commission.
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • two 4 coil system each of which placed inside a µ-metal shielded box
Additional info Magnetic field was perpendicular to the dish plane. For intermittent exposures, the magnetic field was linearly ramped during on/off switching with rise and fall time of 3 s.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 2 mT effective value measured and calculated - -
magnetic flux density 1 mT effective value measured and calculated - -

Exposure 2

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Waveform
Polarization
Exposure duration continuous for 16 h
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 2 mT effective value measured and calculated - -
magnetic flux density 1 mT effective value measured and calculated - -

Exposure 3

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Waveform
Polarization
Exposure duration continuous for 48 h
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 1 mT effective value measured and calculated - -

Reference articles

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Some genes of the global gene expression test were down-regulated or up-regulated after extremely low frequency electromagnetic field exposure.
Epibatidine bindings sites, corresponding to α3-containing receptors were increased when exposed to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields.
These results suggest that SH-SY5Y cells are a suitable model to investigate the effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on the expression of neuronal nicotinic receptors.
The data also showed that the expression of some relevant components of the cholinergic nicotinic system did not undergo any change at molecular level by environmental exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic field. In spite of different exposure protocols used, the authors failed to demonstrate any effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on this receptor family.

Study character:

Study funded by

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