Male rats were divided into 4 groups (n=7 each): Rats were either killed immediately and examined after exposure to investigate acute effects (group 1) or 48 days after exposure to detect delayed effects (group 2). Each exposure group had its own sham exposure group (groups 3 and 4).
Exposure duration: continuous for 21 days
|Chamber||plastic cages with food and water containers|
|Setup||a homogenous magnetic field was generated by 4 solenoids of 270 turns of electrically insulated 2.2 mm copper wire, respectively, wound around a copper cylindrical chamber of 55 cm external diameter; rats were placed at the center of the solenoids in their cages; animals were kept in a 12 h light/12 h dark cycle, at constant temperature of 25 °C|
|Sham exposure||A sham exposure was conducted.|
|magnetic flux density||100 µT||-||measured||-||± 10 µT|
There was a significant decrease in testes weights, sperm motility, sperm count, percentages of normal sperms and live sperms as well as in the enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase and catalase in the exposure groups (groups 1 and 2) compared to the respective sham exposure groups (groups 3 and 4). The alpha-tocopherol level was significantly decreased and serum testosterone and L-ascorbate levels were significantly increased directly after exposure (group 1) compared to the sham exposure group, but not after further 48 days (group 2).
Histopathological examination of the testes showed a disruption in its architecture with an increase in Leydig cell number and activity in group 1 compared to the sham exposure, whereas in group 2, there were high rates of apoptosis in the germ cell layers compared to the sham exposure.
The authors conclude that exposure of male rats to a 50 Hz magnetic field might impair fertility related parameters via oxidative stress.