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Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Mobile phone radiation induces reactive oxygen species production and DNA damage in human spermatozoa in vitro.

Published in: PLoS One 2009; 4 (7): e6446

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study the influence of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on the cell biology (e.g. oxidative stress, DNA damage) of human spermatozoa in vitro (of 22 healthy donors).
Background/further details: In order to control thermal effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure, spermatozoa were also incubated at temperatures ranging from 21°C - 50°C for 2 h.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 1.8 GHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 16 hr
  • SAR: 0.4 W/kg minimum
  • SAR: 27.5 W/kg maximum
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 1.8 GHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 16 hr
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup cylindrical waveguide whose the end was filled with 15 cm thick carbon-impregnated foam placed inside a brass mesh Faraday cage; petri dishes positioned inside the waveguide
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 0.4 W/kg minimum calibration - -
SAR 27.5 W/kg maximum calibration - -
Reference articles
  • Gajda GB et al. (2002): Cylindrical waveguide applicator for in vitro exposure of cell culture samples to 1.9-GHz radiofrequency fields.
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:
Time of investigation:
  • before exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Sperm motility and sperm vitality were significantly reduced after radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure with increasing SAR values, while the mitochondrial generation of reactive oxygen species and DNA fragmentation were significantly elevated. Furthermore, highly significant relationships between SAR, the oxidative DNA damage marker, 8-OH-dG, and DNA fragmentation after exposure were also observed.
In conclusion, radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure in both the power density and frequency range of mobile phones enhances mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation in human spermatozoa, decreasing the sperm motility and sperm vitality while stimulating DNA fragmentation. These data have clear implications for the safety of extensive mobile phone use by males of reproductive age, potentially affecting both their fertility and the health and well-being of their offspring.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia
  • Australian Research Council (ARC), Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology and Development

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