Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Effect of electromagnetic field on the sperm characteristics and histopathological status of testis in rats med./bio.

Published in: Med Weter 2007; 63 (2): 178-183

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To examine the effects of 50 Hz electric fields and magnetic fields generated by a 170 kV power line on the testis of rats.

Background/further details

Rats were divided in four groups (n=7 per group): 1.) control group, 2.) exposure for 1 month, 3.) exposure for 2 month and 4.) exposure for 3 month.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 24 h/day for 1, 2 or 3 months

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Exposure duration continuous for 24 h/day for 1, 2 or 3 months
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup rats held in 33 cm x 13 cm x 15 cm Perspex cages placed in a 2 m x 2 m x 1.85 m experimental cottage with a horizontal distance of 10 m from the transformer station and a vertical distance of 7.5 m from the power lines
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 4.821 µT mean measured - ± 0.158 µT; exposure environment
electric field strength 1.66 kV/m mean measured and calculated - ± 0.01 kV/m; exposure environment
magnetic flux density 0.048 µT average over time calculated - ± 0.005 µT; in the control environment
electric field strength 0.75 kV/m average over time measured and calculated - ± 0.05 kV/m; in the control environment

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Between the exposed rats and the rats of the control group, no significant differences were observed regarding organ weight and dimensions, as well as sperm concentration, sperm motility and abnormal sperm rates.
In the plasma and the testis of exposed rats, the level of testosterone and the enzyme activity of catalase were significantly decreased compared to the control group while no significant differences were found in the level of glutathione and malondialdehyde.
Between the control group and the exposed groups, significant differences were found in the histopathological examination (i.e. in the Johnson's biopsy score and the germinal cell thickness). Additionally, the histopathological examination revealed a deceleration of the spermatogenesis and a degeneration of the germ cell order in relation to the exposure time. Protein expression of Bax was observed in all groups but strongest in the two month exposed group, while protein expression of Bcl-2 was generally weak with the strongest expression in the two month exposed group.
The authors conclude that 50 Hz electric fields and magnetic fields generated by a 170 kV power line could affect the testosterone level and induce histopathological changes in the testis of rats but do not alter sperm characteristics.

Study character:

Study funded by

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