Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Mitochondrial hyperpolarization and cytochrome-c release in microwave-exposed MCF-7 cells.

Published in: Gen Physiol Biophys 2017; 36: 211-218

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The effects of exposure of breast cancer cells to a 2.1 GHz electromagnetic field on apoptosis and the underlying mechanisms of action should be investigated.
Background/further details: Cells were divided into the following groups: 1) exposure to the electromagnetic field for 4 hours, 2) exposure to the electromagnetic field for 24 hours. For each exposure group, a separate sham exposure group was used.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 2.1 GHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 4 or 24 hours
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 2.1 GHz
Exposure duration continuous for 4 or 24 hours
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber incubator (37°C)
Setup cells were cultivated in plates with 24 wells and placed above the antenna, which was connected to a signal generator, inside the incubator
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 0.528 W/kg peak value calculated 10 g -
power density 0.12 mW/cm² - measured - inside the incubator
Additional parameter details
ambient magnetic field had a magnetic flux density of 0.146 µT
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Cells exposed to the electromagnetic field for 4 hours (group 1) or 24 hours (group 2) showed a significantly decreased cell viability compared to sham exposed cells. The percentage of apoptotic cells, level of cytochrome-c and the mitochondrial membrane potential were significantly higher in exposed cells (groups 1 and 2) compared to sham exposed cells. (Remark EMF-Portal: according to the abstract, cell viability was also significantly lower after longer exposure and the percentage of apoptotic cells and the mitochondrial membrane potential were significantly higher in cells exposed for 24 hours compared to cells exposed for 4 hours. However, this is not mentioned in the results section or figures.)
p53 levels did not show any changes.
The authors conclude that exposure of breast cancer cells to a 2.1 GHz electromagnetic field might cause hyperpolarization of mitochondria which in turn could induce apoptosis.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • Gazi University Research Foundation, Turkey

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