Neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease) have been suggested to be linked to electromagnetic fields and iron overload in the brain. Thereby, the combination of both factors could have a greater impact than each treatment for itself.
Three groups of rats were examined (n=8 per group): 1.) electromagnetic field exposure, 2.) electromagnetic field exposure + iron administration (daily injection of 3 mg FeSO4 per kg body weight during 21 consecutive days) and 3.) sham exposure. After the exposure period of 21 days, behavior tests were performed (post-treatment day 1-8: Morris water maze, post-treatment day 14-20: eight-arm radial maze, post treatment day 21, 22 or 23: object exploration task). At the end of the experimental period, rats were killed for biochemical measurements.
|Exposure duration||1 hour per day for 21 consecutive days|
|Chamber||cage (40 cm x 26 cm x 16 cm) with a plexiglas cover containing 6 rats was placed in the exposure chamber, chamber was formed by absorbent material to limit stray reflections|
|Setup||apparatus (containing the dipole antenna and the chamber) was placed in a temperature controlled (20°C), dimly lit room (1,7 m x 3.2 m) on a table; antenna was placed at a 50 cm distance to the center of the chamber|
|Sham exposure||A sham exposure was conducted.|
No significant differences regarding learning and memory were observed in the Morris water maze and eight-arm radial maze between the groups. However, exposed rats from group 1 (electromagnetic field) and group 2 (electromagnetic field + iron) showed significantly impaired results in the object exploration test in comparison to the sham exposed rats.
Rats exposed to an electromagnetic field (group 1) showed significant decreases in the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the hippocampus compared to group 2 and group 3 (sham exposure). The level of serotonin and its metabolite (5-hydroxyindolacetic acid) was significantly increased in the cerebellum in both exposure groups (group 1 and 2) in comparison to the sham exposure group. Additionally, the level of dopamine was significantly increased in the striatum of group 2 compared to group 1 and group 3.
No differences regarding oxidative stress parameters were found between the groups.
The authors conclude that electromagnetic field exposure had an impact on the brain of rats, but no synergistic effects of exposure to an electromagnetic field and iron overload occurred.