Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Low frequency pulsed electromagnetic field affects proliferation, tissue-specific gene expression, and cytokines release of human tendon cells med./bio.

Published in: Cell Biochem Biophys 2013; 66 (3): 697-708

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To examine the in vitro effects of low frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields on primary human tendon cells.

Background/further details

Tendon samples were obtained from 8 patients. The explants were exposed for 4, 8 or 12 hours and investigated 0, 1, 2, 7 or 10 hours (see "methods") after the exposure.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 75 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 4, 8 or 12 hours

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 75 Hz
Exposure duration continuous for 4, 8 or 12 hours
Additional info pulse duration: 1.3 ms; duty cycle 0.1
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber plates with 24 or 96 wells or culture flask
Setup pair of rectangular horizontal coils (18 x 13 cm), each made of 1000 turns of copper wire, placed opposite to each other; 24-well plates or culture flask were placed between the pair of coils, plane of coils was parallel to culture layer; exposure device placed in 5 % CO2 and 37 °C incubator
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 1.5 mT peak value measured - +/- 0.2 mT

Reference articles

  • Ongaro A et al. (2012): Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and adenosine receptors modulate prostaglandin E(2) and cytokine release in human osteoarthritic synovial fibroblasts
  • Ongaro A et al. (2011): Chondroprotective effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields on human cartilage explants
  • Varani K et al. (2008): Characterization of adenosine receptors in bovine chondrocytes and fibroblast-like synoviocytes exposed to low frequency low energy pulsed electromagnetic fields
  • De Mattei M et al. (2003): Effects of electromagnetic fields on proteoglycan metabolism of bovine articular cartilage explants

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

No significant differences in cell viability between PEMF-exposed and control cell cultures were observed. Immediately after the exposure, the content of DNA in the 8 hours-exposed group was significantly increased when compared to the control group. After one day, the release of IL-1beta was significantly increased after 12 hours-exposure in comparison to the control, while the release of IL-6 and IL-10 was significantly increased after 8 and 12 hours-exposure. Immediately after 8 and 12 hours-exposure, the release of transforming growth factor-beta and vascular endothelial growth factor-A, as well as the expression of the corresponding gene VEGF-A, was significantly increased.
The data indicate that low frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields are not cytotoxic and could influence the proliferation (not statistically significant), the release of cytokines and alter gene expression in tendon cells.

Study character:

Study funded by

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