Medical/biological study (experimental study)

MnSOD expression inhibited by electromagnetic pulse radiation in the rat testis.

Published in: Electromagn Biol Med 2011; 30 (4): 205-218

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To observe the effects of electromagnetic pulse exposure on the reproductive system in male rats.
Background/further details: Electromagnetic pulse is a special kind of electromagnetic irradiation that is produced as short high voltage pulses and used extensively in the medical applications and security screening and military applications. The unusual properties of electromagnetic pulses have raised concerns about potential bioeffects and health hazards to human. Therefore, this study examined the possibly damaging factors of electromagnetic pulses on the morphology of testis and sperms, endocrine changes and the metabolism in male rats.
Rats were divided into three groups: 1.) sham exposure, 2.) exposure with 3*105 pulses and 3.) exposure with 4*105 pulses. Every group consisted at of least eight rats. After 24, 48, 72 h or 1 week, rats were sacrificed and blood samples, sperm samples and testis were collected for analyses. The experiments were repeated thrice.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 0 Hz–1 GHz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: 3 x 105 or 4 x 105 pulses
General information
Animals were divided into the following four groups: i) sham exposure ii) exposure to EMF (3*105 pulses) iii) exposure to EMF (4*105 pulses)
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 0 Hz–1 GHz
Exposure duration 3 x 105 or 4 x 105 pulses
Modulation type pulsed
Repetition frequency 50 Hz
Additional info pulse width: 2.5 - 2.8 ns
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Distance between exposed object and exposure source 225 cm
Setup 500 cm long conical GTEM cell; rat placed in a 20 cm long polyethylene exposure holder with a diameter of 6.4 cm; holder positioned in the GTEM cell parallel with the magnetic vector at 225 cm from the EMF source
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 30 mW/kg average over mass calculated whole body -
electric field strength 100 kV/m - - - at 225 cm from the source
Reference articles
  • Lu ST et al. (1999): Ultrawide-band electromagnetic pulses induced hypotension in rats. Dublette mit anderer PubMed-ID.
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Acrosome reaction was significantly decreased after 24 and 48 h of exposure and abnormalities in the ultrastructure (chromatin accumulation, dilation and vacuolation of the endoplasmic reticulum) occured especially after 24 h exposure. The sperm number and sperm motility, as well as deformity and micronucleus rate did not significantly differ between the exposed and the control group.
The level of malondialdehyde increased 6 h after exposure, while the activity of the superoxide dismutase decreased after 24 h compared to the control group. Accordingly, the gene expression of the manganese superoxide dismutase was significantly decreased in the exposed group compared to the control group after 24 h.
Serum levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormone fluctuated over time in the exposure groups, while the levels in the control groups remained constant. Serum level of follicle stimulating hormone did not change in neither of the groups.
The authors summarize that morphological damage in rat's testis, as well as endocrine and metabolic dysfunctions in rats could be induced through electromagnetic pulses.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • National Natural Science Foundation (NSFC), China
  • China's International Science and Technology (S&T) Cooperation Project

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