Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Effects of exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields on spatial and passive avoidance learning and memory, anxiety-like behavior and oxidative stress in male rats. med./bio.

Published in: Behav Brain Res 2019; 359: 630-638

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate the effect of exposure to a 50 Hz magnetic field on cognitive and behavioral parameters as well as on oxidative stress in rats.

Background/further details

Male rats were randomly divided into six groups (n=12 per group): 1) control group, 2) sham exposure group, 3) 1 µT magnetic field, 4) 100 µT magnetic field, 5) 500 µT magnetic field and 6) 2000 µT magnetic field. Exposure was started after one week of adaption and lasted 60 days. Behavior (elevated plus maze) was tested immediately the day after the 60 days of exposure, followed by six days training and testing in the Morris water maze. After one week of recovery, the passive avoidance test was conducted. Afterwards, blood was collected.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 2 hours/day for 60 days
Exposure 2: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 2 hours/day for 60 days
Exposure 3: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 2 hours/day for 60 days
Exposure 4: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 2 hours/day for 60 days

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Waveform
Exposure duration 2 hours/day for 60 days
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup solenoid coil had a length of 2 m, a radius of 20 cm and 1000 turns per meter; diameter of the copper wire was 2 mm
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Additional info sham exposed animals were placed in an identical set-up but without the magnetic field
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 1 µT - measured - -

Exposure 2

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Waveform
Exposure duration 2 hours/day for 60 days
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 100 µT - measured - -

Exposure 3

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Waveform
Exposure duration 2 hours/day for 60 days
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 500 µT - measured - -

Exposure 4

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Waveform
Exposure duration 2 hours/day for 60 days
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 2,000 µT - measured - -

Reference articles

  • Komaki A et al. (2014): Effects of exposure to an extremely low frequency electromagnetic field on hippocampal long-term potentiation in rat.
  • Salehi I et al. (2013): Exposure of rats to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) alters cytokines production.

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 were found between the control group (group 1) and the sham exposure group (group 2). Thus the exposure groups were compared only with the control group .
In exposed rats, lipid peroxidation (groups 4 and 5), total antioxidant capacity (groups 3 and 5), total thiol molecules (groups 3, 4, 5 and 6) and total oxidant status (group 5) were significantly increased compared to the control group.
In the Morris water maze, exposed rats (groups 4 and 6) spent significantly more time in the target zone as compared to rats from the control group.
In the passive avoidance test, the latency of exposed rats (groups 4, 5, and 6) to step into the dark box was significantly increased compared to the control group. Furthermore, rats from all exposure groups spent significantly less time in the dark box compared to control rats.
In the elevated plus maze, exposed rats entered open arms significantly fewer (groups 5 and 6) and spent less time in there (groups 3, 4, 5 and 6) compared to control rats.
The authors conclude that 50 Hz magnetic fields showed no effect on the acquisition of spatial and avoidance learning but can improve memory retention of rats. Furthermore, 50 Hz magnetic fields could play a role in the development of anxiety-like behavior and oxidative stress.

Study character:

Study funded by

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