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Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields Decrease Serum Levels of Interleukin-17, Transforming Growth Factor-β and Downregulate Foxp3 Expression in the Spleen.

Published in: J Interferon Cytokine Res 2018; 38 (10): 457-462

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate immunological parameters in rats exposed to a 50 Hz magnetic field.
Background/further details: In total, 80 rats were randomly divided into five groups (n=16 per group): 1) sham exposure, 2) 1 µT magnetic field, 3) 100 µT magnetic field, 4) 500 µT magnetic field and 5) 2000 µT magnetic field. Exposure lasted for two months. After one month, blood samples were collected to measure cytokine levels before immunization. Rats were immunized with human serum albumin after 31, 44, and 58 days of exposure and after two month rats were killed to collect spleen and thymus and another blood sample.
ROR-gamma-T functions as an essential transcription factor for the organogenesis of lymphoid tissues.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 2 hours/day for 2 month
Exposure 2: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 2 hours/day for 2 month
Exposure 3: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 2 hours/day for 2 month
Exposure 4: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 2 hours/day for 2 month
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Waveform
Exposure duration 2 hours/day for 2 month
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup exposure system consisted of solenoid coils (each with 2 m length each and an internal diameter of 40 cm) which consisted of different turns of copper wire (2 mm diameter) wound around plastic cylinders; combination of different turns of wires with the different voltage in each solenoid generated the magnetic field with the desired magnetic flux intensities
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Additional info for sham exposure, rats were put in the unplugged solenoid; background extremely low frequency magnetic field was 0.07 ± 0.03 µT
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 2 month
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 2 month
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 2 month
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 2,000 µT - measured - -
Reference articles
  • 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 material:
  • isolated bio./chem. substance
  • blood
  • investigation on living organism
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • before exposure
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The thymus weight was significantly decreased in rats exposed to the 2000 µT-magnetic (group 5) when compared to the sham exposed animals (group 1). The blood levels of interleukin-17 and transforming growth factor-beta were decreased in groups 2 and 3 after one month of exposure (prior to immunization) in comparison to the sham exposure. Furthermore, the gene expression of Foxp3 was significantly down-regulated in the spleens of groups 2 and 3 compared to the sham exposure.
The authors conclude that low intensity 50 Hz magnetic fields could reduce blood levels of interleukin-17 and transforming growth factor-beta and downregulate the expression of Foxp3 in the spleen. Furthermore, they hypothesize that magnetic fields with higher magnetic flux density could induce protective mechanisms which compensate the potential occurring exposure induced effects.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Iran

Related articles

  • Luo X et al. (2016): Occupational exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields does not alter responses of inflammatory genes and activation of splenic lymphocytes in mice.
  • Zhang H et al. (2016): Protective effect of procyanidins extracted from the lotus seedpod on immune function injury induced by extremely low frequency electromagnetic field.
  • Salehi I et al. (2013): Exposure of rats to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) alters cytokines production.
  • Touitou Y et al. (2013): Long-term (up to 20 years) effects of 50-Hz magnetic field exposure on immune system and hematological parameters in healthy men.
  • Cicekcibasi AE et al. (2008): Determination of the effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on the percentages of peripheral blood leukocytes and histology of lymphoid organs of the mouse.
  • Arafa HM et al. (2003): Immunomodulatory effects of L-carnitine and q10 in mouse spleen exposed to low-frequency high-intensity magnetic field.
  • Thun-Battersby S et al. (1999): Lymphocyte subset analyses in blood, spleen and lymph nodes of female Sprague-Dawley rats after short or prolonged exposure to a 50 Hz 100-microT magnetic field.
  • Mevissen M et al. (1998): Complex effects of long-term 50 Hz magnetic field exposure in vivo on immune functions in female Sprague-Dawley rats depend on duration of exposure.