Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Spatial learning, monoamines and oxidative stress in rats exposed to 900 MHz electromagnetic field in combination with iron overload med./bio.

Published in: Behav Brain Res 2014; 258: 80-89

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate whether co-exposure to electromagnetic fields and iron overload has a greater impact on rat brain tissues than electromagnetic field exposure alone.

Background/further details

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 Parameters
Exposure 1: 900 MHz
Exposure duration: 1 hour per day for 21 consecutive days
  • SAR: 0.05 W/kg minimum
  • SAR: 0.18 W/kg maximum
  • power: 100 mW

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Exposure duration 1 hour per day for 21 consecutive days
Exposure setup
Exposure source
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.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 0.05 W/kg minimum estimated - -
SAR 0.18 W/kg maximum estimated - -
power 100 mW - - - -

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

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.

Study character:

Study funded by

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