Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Chronic exposure to 50Hz magnetic fields causes a significant weakening of antioxidant defence systems in aged rat brain med./bio.

Published in: Int J Biochem Cell Biol 2008; 40 (12): 2762-2770

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study whether the ageing process can increase susceptibility towards extremely low frequency magnetic field mediated pro-oxidative stress, differences in the antioxidant defense systems and neurotrophic support (nerve growth factor-related gene expression and protein expression) after chronic exposure were examined in rat brains.

Background/further details

3-months-old femals rats (n=20) and 19-months-old female rats (n=20) were randomly assigned to an exposure group and a control group. The magnetic flux density (0.1 mT) was the reference level recommended by the European Commission (1999/519/EC) for general public exposure. The experiment was performed 3 times with different rat colonies.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 10 days

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Exposure duration continuous for 10 days
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup pair of Helmholtz coils with a radius of 630 mm each, distance between coils = 700 mm, animals placed in plastic cages in the center of the coil system
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 0.1 mT - - - -

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The results showed that exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields significantly affected antioxidant enzymatic capacity in both young and aged rats, although in opposite ways. Exposed young rats enhanced their neurotrophic signaling and anti-oxidative enzymatic defense. Aged rats exhibited a significant decrease in all major anti-oxidative enzymatic activities. Food intake and body weight were not affected by exposure.
The data seem to suggest that exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields may act as a risk factor for the occurence of oxidative stress-based nervous system pathologies associated with ageing.

Study character:

Study funded by

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