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Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Oxidative and genotoxic effects of 900 MHz electromagnetic fields in the earthworm Eisenia fetida.

Published in: Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2013; 90: 7-12

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate whether the exposure to a radiofrequency electromagnetic field causes oxidative stress and has a genotoxic effect in earthworms.
Background/further details: Earthworms were divided in 7 groups (8 animals per group): 1.) control group, 2.) 2 hours exposure with a power density of 0.3 W/m2, 3.) 2 hours exposure with a power density of 1.4 W/m2, 4.) 2 hours exposure with a power density of 4.2 W/m2, 5.) 2 hours exposure with a power density of 38.2 W/m2, 6.) 4 hours exposure with a power density of 1.4 W/m2 and 7.) 2 h exposure with a power density of 1.4 W/m2, amplitude modulated.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 900 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 2 hours
Exposure 2: 900 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 2 hours
Exposure 3: 900 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 2 hours
Exposure 4: 900 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 2 hours
Exposure 5: 900 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 4 hours
Exposure 6: 900 MHz
Modulation type: AM
Exposure duration: continuous for 2 hours
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 2 hours
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber earthworms in plastic Petri dishes
Setup Petri dishes were placed in the GTEM cell, in the same plane, but perpendicular to the electric field.
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 10 V/m - - - -
power density 0.3 W/m² - - - -
SAR 0.13 mW/kg - calculated - -
Exposure 2
Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 2 hours
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 23 V/m - - - -
power density 1.4 W/m² - - - -
SAR 0.35 mW/kg - calculated - -
Exposure 3
Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 2 hours
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 41 V/m - - - -
power density 4.2 W/m² - - - -
SAR 1.1 mW/kg - calculated - -
Exposure 4
Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 2 hours
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 120 V/m - - - -
power density 38.2 W/m² - - - -
SAR 9.33 mW/kg - calculated - -
Exposure 5
Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 4 hours
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 23 V/m - - - -
power density 1.4 W/m² - - - -
SAR 0.35 mW/kg - calculated - -
Exposure 6
Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 2 hours
Modulation
Modulation type AM
Modulation frequency 1 kHz
Modulation depth 80 %
Additional info sinusoidal
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 23 V/m - - - -
power density 1.4 W/m² - - - -
SAR 0.35 mW/kg - calculated - -
Reference articles
  • Tkalec M et al. (2005): Influence of 400, 900, and 1900 MHz electromagnetic fields on Lemna minor growth and peroxidase activity.
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

In all exposure groups, a significant increase in the DNA damage was found in comparison to the control group and this effect was more pronounced in groups exposed to higher field levels. However, no differences were found between the exposure durations (2 or 4 h at 1.4 W/m2).
The protein carbonyl content in the exposed worms was significantly increased compared to the controls in all investigated fields above 0.3 W/m2. The highest carbonyl content was measured after the exposure to 1.4 W/m2. The level of malondialdehyde was significantly increased after 2 hours of exposure at power densities of 1.4 and 38.2 W/m2 compared to the control.
Exposure above 0.3 W/m2 led to a significantly increased catalase activity except for the amplitude modulated and the 4 hours exposure groups in comparison to the control animals. In all exposure groups, the enzyme activity of the glutathione reductase was significantly increased in comparison to the control group. However, no differences within the exposure groups occurred. >The mean temperature in the earthworms before the exposure was 21.9 +/- 0.2 °C and 22.02 +/- 0.3 °C after the exposure.
The authors conclude that electromagnetic fields have a DNA damaging capacity and cause oxidative stress in earthworms.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • Croatian Scientific Research Council, Croatia

Related articles

  • Dawe AS et al. (2006): A small temperature rise may contribute towards the apparent induction by microwaves of heat-shock gene expression in the nematode Caenorhabditis Elegans.