Six pregnant rats served as control group and twelve pregnant rats were electromagnetic field exposed from the 13th day of gestation. After birth two neonatal male rats per dam were used for composition of the following groups: 1) rats were exposed from day 13 of gestation to adult period at postnatal day 90 (n=12), 2) rats were exposed from day 13 of gestation to peripubertal period at postnatal day 21 (n=12; these rats were left in an environment free of electromagnetic fields for up to 90 postnatal days to verify a possible recovery from exposure), 3) sham exposure group (90 days; n=12), 4) negative control group (n=6; no treatment).
Two newborn male rats from each female were taken to form the following four groups: i) exposure from day 13 of gestation to postnatal day 90 ii) exposure from day 13 of gestation to postnatal day 21 iii) sham exposure from day 13 of gestation to postnatal day 90 iv) control (no handling)
|magnetic flux density||1 mT||-||measured||-||-|
Plasma testosterone concentration was not changed by electromagnetic field exposure.
However, histopathological and histomorphometrical analyses of the testes showed testicular degeneration in a subset of animals exposed to the electromagnetic field. The magnitude of the degenerative process varied between those individuals affected, indicating different individual sensitivity to the electromagnetic field. The main alterations observed through transmission electron microscopy were highly electron-dense mitochondria with loss of their organization and cristae. The data showed that testicular degeneration was more intense in animals exposed for up to 90 postnatal days compared with the group exposed for up to 21 days and analyzed at 90 days old.
Exposure to 60 Hz and 1 mT electromagnetic field can disturb spermatogenesis and may produce subfertility or infertility.