Medical/biological study (experimental study)

The effect of electromagnetic radiation in the mobile phone range on the behaviour of the rat.

Published in: Metab Brain Dis 2009; 24 (4): 629-641

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The authors hypothesize that exposure to electromagnetic fields early in life of rat pups will lead to abnormal brain development impacting negatively on their behaviour during adulthood. They subsequently performed behavioural, histological and biochemical tests on exposed and unexposed rats to determine the effects of electromagnetic fields on learning and memory, emotional states and corticosterone levels.
Background/further details: Rat pups and their dams were exposed to electromagnetic fields for 3 h per day from postnatal day 2 to postnatal day 14. On postnatal day 22 rat pups were divided into six males und six females per group. Behavioural assessments started on postnatal day 58. On postnatal day 62 the rats were sacrificed for the collection of plasma and brain tissue.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 840 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 3 hr/day from day 2 to day 14 after birth
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 840 MHz
Exposure duration continuous for 3 hr/day from day 2 to day 14 after birth
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup antenna placed 0.9 m from the cage in a height of 2.5 m above ground; antenna directed to the side of the cage; cage equipped with plastic covering lid for exposure
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power 0.38 mW - - - transmitted power
power 0.01 µW - measured and calculated - received power
power density 60 µW/m² - measured and calculated - at 0.93 m from the antenna
electric field strength 8.95 mV/m - measured and calculated - 79.04 dBµV/m
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:
  • isolated bio./chem. substance
  • tissue slices
  • investigation on living organism
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Morphological analysis of the hippocampal granular and pyramidal cells and of the cortical region revealed that the cells were intact and that there were no significant differences in neuron structure between control and exposed brains.
Although there were no significant differences in corticosterone levels between the groups, a trend was noted for exposed female rats to higher corticosterone levels compared to unexposed female controls.
The data showed that electromagnetic field exposure may cause behavioural changes as evidenced by a decrease in locomotor activity, increased grooming and freezing behaviour in exposed male rats. These a!terations in behaviour have been associated with animal models of stress-related disorders and therefore suggest that electromagnetic field exposure may be an environmental risk factor in the development of behavioural abnormalities. The authors recognise that the obtained evidence is limited, and that further investigations are required.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • not stated/no funding

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