Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Neuronal cellular responses to extremely low frequency electromagnetic field exposure: implications regarding oxidative stress and neurodegeneration med./bio.

Published in: PLoS One 2014; 9 (8): e104973

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate the effects of exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields on the oxidative stress response in a human neuroblastoma cell line.

Background/further details

The human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y is used as an cellular model to examine the potential influence of extremely low frequency magnetic fields on cellular cascades and signal pathways that may lead to neurodegeneration. This cell line is believed to possess a number of physiological systems that have parallels to human neurons.
To examine whether extremely low frequency magnetic fields may influence the oxidative homeostasis of neural cells, the cell cultures were partially treated with H2O2 (co-exposure).



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: up to 24 hours (1 h, 3 h, 6 h or 24 h)

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Exposure duration up to 24 hours (1 h, 3 h, 6 h or 24 h)
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup a 160 turn solenoid (22 cm length, 6 cm radius, copper wire diameter of 1.25 x 10-5 cm) that generated a horizontal magnetic field; solenoid was placed inside the exposure incubator (5% CO2 atmosphere and 37°C ± 0.3°C)
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 1 mT effective value measured - -

Reference articles

  • Vianale G et al. (2008): Extremely low frequency electromagnetic field enhances human keratinocyte cell growth and decreases proinflammatory chemokine production

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

No significant differences regarding cell morphology and cell viability were observed between exposed and control cell cultures. However, in cell cultures exposed for 1, 3, 6, or 24 hours, the enzyme activity of the nitric oxide synthase and the production of superoxide were significantly increased compared to the control group, while the enzyme activity of the catalase was only significantly increased after 6 hours of exposure. Furthermore, an exposure to magnetic fields changed enzymatic kinetic parameters of the catalase and the cytochrome P450: The exposure induced a modest increase in the total velocity of the catalase, accompanied by a moderate rise in the minimum velocity and an elevated "rate of decrease" compared to the control. Regarding the cytochrome P450, after exposure the "rate of increase" was significantly elevated and the "rate of decrease" was increased in comparison to the control.
The gene expression levels of the transforming growth factor beta-1 and the interleukin-18-binding protein were significantly increased in exposed cell cultures when compared to control cell cultures.
In H2O2-treated cultures, the enzyme activity of the catalase was significantly decreased after 24 hours magnetic field exposure compared to incubation without magnetic field exposure.
The authors conclude that exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields does not have an impact on the cell viability but could induce oxidative stress in human neuroblastoma cells.

Study character:

Study funded by

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