Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Influence of a 50 Hz magnetic field and of all-transretinol on the proliferation of human cancer cell lines. med./bio.

Published in: Int J Oncol 2012; 40 (5): 1405-1413

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study the response of two proliferating human cell lines (neuroblastoma and hepatocarcinoma) to a 42 h, intermittent exposure with a weak magnetic field, alone or in combination with all-trans-retinol (a retinoid applied in oncostatic therapies).

Background/further details

The cell samples were submitted to one of the following treatment combinations: 1) magnetic field exposure and all-trans-retinol treatment (0.5 µg/ml) , 2) magnetic field exposure alone, 3) all-trans-retinol treatment alone or 4) no treatment at all.
The work is part of the REFLEX project funded by the European Union.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 3 h on/3 h off during 42 h

General information

The cells were treated in the following groups: i) control group ii) 0.5 µg/ml all-trans-retinol treatment iii) exposure to EMF iv) all-trans-retinol treatment + exposure to EMF

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Exposure duration 3 h on/3 h off during 42 h
Additional info vertically polarized
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup two pairs of Helmholtz coils with a coil diameter of 20 cm and 1000 turns of enameled copper wire, aligned coaxially 10 cm apart; cell culture dishes placed inside the coil system; each coil pair installed separately in the center of a magnetically shielded chamber (co-netic alloy), placed inside an incubator
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 100 µT - measured - -

Reference articles

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The data showed that the two treatments (magnetic field and all-trans-retinol) significantly enhanced cell proliferation in both cell lines, when administered separately. In NB69 cells, simultaneous exposure (co-exposure) induced an additive increase in cell proliferation, associated with increased DNA content. By contrast, in HepG2 cells the all-trans-retinol-induced cell proliferation and increased protein content were partially blocked by the simultaneous exposure to the magnetic field.
In conclusion, these data showed that both agents (magnetic field and all-trans-retinol) induced a proliferative response in the two human cell lines. However, significant differences were observed between the responses of the two cell types to the co-exposure, indicating that the underlying mechanisms is cell type-specific.

Study character:

Study funded by

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