Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Evaluation of testicular degeneration induced by low-frequency electromagnetic fields. med./bio.

Published in: J Appl Toxicol 2012; 32 (3): 210-218

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study the effects of electromagnetic fields (60 Hz, 1 mT) on spermatogenesis of rats during different periods of maturation.

Background/further details

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).

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 60 Hz
Exposure duration: three daily applications of 30 min from day 13 of gestation to postnatal day 21 or 90

General information

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)

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 60 Hz
Type
Waveform
Exposure duration three daily applications of 30 min from day 13 of gestation to postnatal day 21 or 90
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup series of Helmholtz coils connected parallel; animals placed centrally in the coil system in a cylindrical polyvenylchloride compartment with ventilation openings; field uniform in the exposure area
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 1 mT - measured - -

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

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.

Study character:

Study funded by

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