Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Exposure to 1950-MHz TD-SCDMA Electromagnetic Fields Affects the Apoptosis of Astrocytes via Caspase-3-Dependent Pathway med./bio.

Published in: PLoS One 2012; 7 (8): e42332

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate whether a radiofrequency field exposure alters the biology of glial cells and acts as a tumor-promoting agent.

Background/further details

Normal rat astrocytes and C6 glioma cells were exposed to a 1959 MHz TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) signal. Different endpoints were regarded: 1.) apoptosis, 2.) cell proliferation, 3.) morphological changes and ultrastructure, 4.) expression of the genes bax and bcl-2, 5.) expression of the protein caspase-3 and 6.) tumorigenicity assay in nude mice was conducted. Therefore, astrocytes and C6 cells, previously exposed, were injected into mice (n=3 per group). Mice were sacrificed 28 days later and examined.
In each experiment cells were divided into four groups: unexposed and exposed for 12, 24 or 48 hours.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 1,950 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 12, 24, 48 h

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 1,950 MHz
Exposure duration continuous for 12, 24, 48 h
Additional info TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access)
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup dipole antenna fixed under the cell plates; four bottles with cells exposed simultaneously; cell plates kept at a constant temperature of 37°C
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power 251.19 mW - measured - 24 dBm - nominal maximum power of TD-SCDMA mobile phones
SAR 5.36 W/kg - - - according to the antenna calibration certificate

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Astrocytes: After 48 h exposure, the morphology and ultrastructure changed compared to the unexposed and 12 or 24 h exposed cells. Many cells became shorter and thicker and the mitochondria showed uneven distribution, irregular shapes, swelling, christa break and cavitation. Exposure for 48 h significantly inhibited the cell growth compared to the unexposed group. The percentage of apoptotic cells after 48 h of exposure was more than three times higher than that of other groups. A significant down-regulation of bcl-2 mRNA levels and up-regulation of bax mRNA levels was detected after 48 h of exposure in comparison to the unexposed group, while the gene expression was not influenced in 12 and 24 h exposed cells. A significant increase of the caspase-3 protein was detected after 48 h exposure, but not in the other groups. Tumor formation was not detected.
C6 cells: No differences occurred between unexposed, 12, 24 and 48 h exposed groups in all experiments.
The authors summarize that 48 h of exposure to a TD-SCDMA signal showed no evident effects on glial tumor formation, but damaged the mitochondria of astrocytes and induced apoptosis via a caspase-3-dependent pathway involving bax and bcl-2.

Study character:

Study funded by

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