Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Microwave electromagnetic field regulates gene expression in T-lymphoblastoid leukemia CCRF-CEM cell line exposed to 900 MHz. med./bio.

Published in: Electromagn Biol Med 2012; 31 (1): 1-18

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study whether exposure to microwaves alters gene expression and cell viability in T-lymphoblastoid leukemia cells.

Background/further details

Four groups were examined: 1.) 2 hours sham exposure, 2.) 48 hours sham exposure, 3.) 2 hours exposure and 4.) 48 hours exposure.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 900 MHz
Modulation type: CW
Exposure duration: continuous for 2 or 48 hours

General information

literature reference: Stuchly, M. A., Stuchly, S. S. (1986). Experimental radio and microwave dosimetry. In: Polk, C., Postow, E. Handbook of Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (pp. 229-272). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Exposure duration continuous for 2 or 48 hours
Modulation type CW
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber aluminium box with 3 mm thickness in order to obtain 75 Ohm impedance; box contains a small aluminium septum, which divides the inner part into two equal parts; field was perpendicular to the septum plane; to allow gaseous exchange between incubator and petri dishes, one side of the TEM cell was made of a removable 2.5 mm mesh; five petri dishes of 10 cm diameter were placed in TEM cell at 1 cm distance above and below the septum
Setup transverse electromagnetic cell was placed in incubator
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Additional info 50 Hz-electric and magnetic field was generated by incubator, but did not exceed 0.8 V/m and 0.16 µT
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 3.5 mW/kg - - - -
power density 23.68 mW/m² - - - -
electric field strength 3 V/m maximum measured - -
magnetic field strength 8 mA/m - measured - -

Reference articles

  • Marinelli F et al. (2004): Exposure to 900 MHz electromagnetic field induces an unbalance between pro-apoptotic and pro-survival signals in T-lymphoblastoid leukemia CCRF-CEM cells.

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

After 48 hours, a significantly decreased number of viable cells was found in the exposed cell cultures when compared to the 48 hours-control group. After 2 hours of exposure, the number of cells undergoing apoptosis was significantly increased in comparison to the 2 hours control group. This effect decreased after 48 hours, but remained statistically significant.
Analysis via microarray revealed that the gene expression of numerous genes involved in DNA repair, apoptosis, cell cycle regulation, angiogenesis and chromosomal organization was significantly down-regulated, respectively up-regulated in the exposed groups compared to the control groups. Most of the results were verified via Western blot.
The results indicate that microwave-exposure could induce changes in gene expression and influence the cell growth.

Study character:

Study funded by

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