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Medical/biological study (experimental study)

In vitro effect of pulsed 900 MHz GSM radiation on mitochondrial membrane potential and motility of human spermatozoa.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2008; 29 (4): 268-276

Aim of study (acc. to author)

This study was performed to examine the effect of pulsed 900 MHz radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure on human sperm motility in vitro as indicator of male fertility.
Background/further details: Semen samples were collected from healthy, nonsmoking donors (n=12) by masturbation after 2-3 days of sexual abstinence. The semen parameters of these samples were within the normal range of the WHO criteria. Samples were exposed to two different specific absorption rates (2.0 and 5.7 W/kg) and run in duplicate.
The sperm motility was assessed by objective motility measurement and by the inner mitochondrial membrane potential as its decrease is highly correlated with diminished sperm motility and fertilisation potential.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 900 MHz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: continuous for 1 h
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 1 h
Modulation
Modulation type pulsed
Pulse width 0.577 ms
Repetition frequency 217 Hz
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber The exposure chamber was positioned vertically inside a CO2 incubator.
Setup Two 55-mm glass Petri dishes were placed inside the chamber on a 9-mm thin rectangular glassfibre-moulded, temperature controlled waterbed. The surface of the culture medium was aligned parallel to the E-field vector.
Additional info Cell temperatures measured during exposure ranged from 36.7 to 37.3 °C at 5.7 W/kg and from 36.8 to 37.2 °C at 2 W/kg.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 2 W/kg mean measured and calculated - -
SAR 5.7 W/kg mean measured and calculated - -
Additional parameter details
More than 70% of the cells were within ±3 dB of the average SAR.
Measurement and calculation details
The SAR distribution in the cell culture was determined using SEMCAD 1.8 software with a graded simulation grid, and results were verified by measurements of temperature rise using a calibrated probe.
Reference articles
  • Leszczynski D et al. (2002): Non-thermal activation of the hsp27/p38MAPK stress pathway by mobile phone radiation in human endothelial cells: Molecular mechanism for cancer- and blood-brain barrier-related effects.

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

There was no effect of pulsed 900 MHz GSM irradiation on the mitochondrial membrane potential. Additionally, no changes for all kinematic sperm motility parameters assessed at a specific absorption rate of 2.0 W/kg were observed. However, two kinematic parameters of sperm's velocity and motion were significantly decreased after the exposure at the specific absorption rate of 5.7 W/kg.
Further research is relevant to clarify whether the observed effects at the specific absorption rate of 5.7 W/kg are artefacts or cellular mechanisms verifiable.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • STUK (Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority), Helsinki, Finland
  • National Research Foundation (NRF), Pretoria, South Africa
  • South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)

Comments on this article

  • Falzone N (2011): Response to comment on "In vitro effect of pulsed 900 MHz GSM radiation on mitochondrial membrane potential and motility of human spermatozoa" by Falzone et al.
  • Lerchl A (2011): Comment on "In vitro effect of pulsed 900 MHz GSM radiation on mitochondrial membrane potential and motility of human spermatozoa" by Falzone et al. (Bioelectromagnetics 29: 268-276, 2008).

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