Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Modification of p21 level and cell cycle distribution by 50 Hz magnetic fields in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells med./bio.

Published in: Int J Radiat Biol 2017; 93 (2): 240-248

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The effects of co-exposure of neuroblastoma cells to a 50 Hz magnetic field and menadione on DNA damage, cell cycle distribution and protein expression should be investigated.

Background/further details

In a previous study (Markkanen et al. 2008), the authors found that exposure to a 50 Hz magnetic field altered cellular responses to a treatment with menadione. Menadione is an agent that induces free radicals (by increasing mitochondrial superoxide production) and DNA damage.
Cells were divided into the following groups: pre-exposure to the magnetic field and consequent treatment with 1) no menadione (only incubation), 2) 1 µM, 3) 10 µM, 4) 15 µM, 5) 20 µM, and 6) 25 µM menadione for 1 h or 3 hours. For each exposure condition, a separate magnetic field sham exposure group was used.
Positive control was conducted.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 24 hours

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Exposure duration continuous for 24 hours
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber cell dishes between coils in incubator with 5% CO2
Setup a pair of 34 cm x 46 cm coils in a Helmholtz-type configuration (22 cm distance between the coils); cell cultures were located at the center of the coil system where the magnetic flux density was uniform; no change in mechanical vibration level was observed at the location of the cell cultures when the exposure system was switched on
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Additional info sham exposed cells were kept in an identical incubator; no temperature differences were observed between the exposure incubator and sham exposure incubator
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 100 µT - measured - -

Reference articles

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

After 3 hours of incubation with and without menadione (groups 1-6) after exposure to the magnetic field, a significant increase of cells in the G1 phase and a significant decrease in the S phase were observed compared to the respective sham exposure groups. There were no effects on cell cycle distribution observed after 1 h of incubation with and without menadione after exposure to the magnetic field.
The protein expression of p21 was significantly decreased after 1 hour of incubation after exposure in groups 1-6 compared to the respective sham exposure groups.
Menadione treatment for 1 hour and 3 hours resulted in a concentration-dependent increase in DNA damage. Only in cells incubated for 1 hour, DNA damage was significantly decreased by exposure to the magnetic field (groups 1-6) compared to the respective sham exposure groups.
The authors conclude that exposure of neuroblastoma cells to a 50 Hz magnetic field might reduce DNA damage, alter cell cycle distribution and that p21 might be involved in the cellular magnetic field response. These effects were detectable in the presence and absence of menadione.

Study character:

Study funded by

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