Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Upregulation of specific mRNA levels in rat brain after cell phone exposure.

Published in: Electromagn Biol Med 2008; 27 (2): 147-154

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To check the hypothesis that cell phone irradiation can cause cellular damage to the rat brain leading to increased mRNA transcription of injury-associated proteins.
Background/further details: Fourteen 3-month-old male adult rats, weighing 250 to 350 g, were used.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 1.9 GHz
Exposure duration: repeated daily exposure, 2 x 3 h/day, for 18 weeks
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 1.9 GHz
Exposure duration repeated daily exposure, 2 x 3 h/day, for 18 weeks
Modulation type unspecified
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Distance between exposed object and exposure source 1 cm
Chamber The rats were placed in holding units consisting of ventilated 5.1 cm x 15.2 cm PVC tubes fitted with 0.59-liter clear plastic bottle tops on one end and common 7.6-cm bolts with nuts at the other end. As the rats grew larger, new units were made using 8.9-cm PVC tubes, 1-liter bottles, and 10.2-cm bolts with nuts.
Setup Each cell phone was positioned 1 cm from the head of the rats, at equal distances between two rats in holding chambers.
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Additional info Rats were exposed for 3 hours, followed by a 30-minute rest period outside of the tubes and a second exposure for 3 more hours per day.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 1.8 W/kg - measured - AMPS
SAR 0.9 W/kg - measured - CELL
SAR 1.18 W/kg - measured - PCS
Additional parameter details
The four cell phones used in the study had a PCS CDMA frequency band of 1.9 GHz (800 MHz digital and 800 MHz analog) and three different modes (AMPS mode, CELL mode, and PCS mode) that can be used based on signal reception, antenna use, and other factors associated with reception of different types of RF signals. The actual exposure is not specified in the article.
Measurement and calculation details
The SAR was measured at a distance of 2.2 cm.
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

A statistically significant mRNA up-regulation of all investigated injury-associated proteins in the brains of rats exposed to cell phone irradiation was found. The differences in temperature measured were not statistically sinificant.
The authors conclude that relative chronic exposure to cell phone microwave irradiation may result in cumulative injuries that could eventually lead to clinically significant neurological damage.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • not stated/no funding

Related articles

  • Maskey D et al. (2014): Immunohistochemical localization of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor in the superior olivary complex of mice after radiofrequency exposure.
  • Yan JG et al. (2009): Qualitative Effect on mRNAs of Injury-Associated Proteins by Cell Phone Like Radiation in Rat Facial Nerves.
  • Huang TQ et al. (2008): Molecular responses of Jurkat T-cells to 1763 MHz radiofrequency radiation.
  • Zhao TY et al. (2007): Exposure to cell phone radiation up-regulates apoptosis genes in primary cultures of neurons and astrocytes.
  • Buttiglione M et al. (2007): Radiofrequency radiation (900 MHz) induces Egr-1 gene expression and affects cell-cycle control in human neuroblastoma cells.
  • Whitehead TD et al. (2006): Gene expression does not change significantly in C3H 10T(1/2) cells after exposure to 847.74 CDMA or 835.62 FDMA radiofrequency radiation.
  • Chauhan V et al. (2006): Gene Expression Analysis of a Human Lymphoblastoma Cell Line Exposed In Vitro to an Intermittent 1.9 GHz Pulse-Modulated Radiofrequency Field.
  • Whitehead TD et al. (2005): Expression of the proto-oncogene Fos after exposure to radiofrequency radiation relevant to wireless communications.
  • Nikolova T et al. (2005): Electromagnetic fields affect transcript levels of apoptosis-related genes in embryonic stem cell-derived neural progenitor cells.
  • Czyz J et al. (2004): High frequency electromagnetic fields (GSM signals) affect gene expression levels in tumor suppressor p53-deficient embryonic stem cells.
  • Morrissey JJ et al. (1999): IRIDIUM exposure increases c-fos expression in the mouse brain only at levels which likely result in tissue heating.
  • Goswami PC et al. (1999): Proto-oncogene mRNA levels and activities of multiple transcription factors in C3H 10T 1/2 murine embryonic fibroblasts exposed to 835.62 and 847.74 MHz cellular phone communication frequency radiation.