Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Induction of adaptive response in human blood lymphocytes exposed to radiofrequency radiation med./bio.

Published in: Radiat Res 2009; 171 (6): 735-742

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study whether non-ionizing radiofrequency exposure, given as an adaptation dose for 20 h, renders the cells refractory to the genetic damage induced by a subsequent challenge dose with the genotoxic agent mitomycin C.

Background/further details

Adaptive response: Different cell types that were exposed to an extremely small adaptation dose of a genotoxic agent were found to be less susceptible to the induction of genetic damage when given a higher challenge dose of the same or similar genotoxic agent. The induction of an adaptive response was shown to be influenced by several factors (e.g. the dose used for adaptation, the dose rate, the time between the adaptation and challenge doses).
Lymphocytes of five different donors were investigated.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 900 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 20 h
  • SAR: 10 W/kg peak value
  • SAR: 1.25 W/kg average over mass

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Exposure duration continuous for 20 h
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup wire patch cell shielded by a metal grid box, placed inside an incubator
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 10 W/kg peak value measured and calculated - -
SAR 1.25 W/kg average over mass measured and calculated - -

Reference articles

  • Palumbo R et al. (2008): Exposure to 900 MHz radiofrequency radiation induces caspase 3 activation in proliferating human lymphocytes
  • Scarfi MR et al. (2006): Exposure to radiofrequency radiation (900 MHz, GSM signal) does not affect micronucleus frequency and cell proliferation in human peripheral blood lymphocytes: an interlaboratory study

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Lymphocytes of four donors exhibited the induction of an adaptive response. Cells that were pre-exposed to 900 MHz radiofrequency irradiation had a significantly decreased incidence of micronuclei induced by the challenge dose of mitomycin C compared to those that were not pre-exposed to 900 MHz radiofrequency irradiation. However, induction of the adaptive response was not observed in the remaining fifth donor. The incidence of micronuclei induced by the challenge dose of mitomycin C was not significantly different between the pre-exposed and unexposed lymphocytes.
In conclusion, the data obtained in this preliminary investigation indicated that radiofrequency exposure at a frequency in use for wireless communications are capable of inducing an adaptive response in human blood lymphocytes. Further research is needed regarding whether an adaptive response can be elicited in other in vitro and in vivo experimental conditions (including various frequencies, different SAR values, timing of adaptation etc.).

Study character:

Study funded by

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