The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of extremely low frequency magnetic fields (1 mT and 10 mT) on the neuronal differentiation process (cell morphology and electrical activity) of an embryonal carcinoma stem cell model.
The extremely low frequency magnetic field exposure was applied to embryoid bodies (aggregates of cells derived from embryonic stem cells) formed at induction of neuronal cell differentiation process and the effects of exposure were evaluated after neuronal differentiation.
The spontaneous electrical activities of neuronal cells are generated during the differentiation process of neuronal networks, and these activities show clearly different behavior according to differentiation periods.
The data showed that the size of embryoid bodies exposed to 10 mT extremely low frequency magnetic fields was significantly decreased compared to non-exposed embryoid bodies. The cell differentiation rate of neuronal cells and functional neuronal network activities were also significantly modulated by exposure to 10 mT magnetic field: The percentage of MAP2-positive cells was increased and GFAP positive cells was decreased at 14 and 21 days after plating. Additionally, the spike frequencies and the active electrodes (i.e. electrodes that detected action potentials) of the spontaneous electrical activity in this period were also increased. However, these effects were not found in 1 mT exposed cells.
In conclusion, exposure of embryoid bodies at the induction of differentiation period to 10 mT extremely low frequency magnetic fields had a functional influence on the neuronal differentiation process.