The aim of the study was to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying human Schwann cell biological changes and/or oncogenic transformation following magnetic field exposure, which might be potentially responsible for vestibular schwannoma development and hearing loss.
A common cause of hearing loss is the presence of vestibular schwannoma. In the last decade, the increasing incidence of vestibular schwannoma has been correlated to electromagnetic field exposure.
Remark EMF-Portal team: The background of this study is based on data of mobile phone related (radiofrequency electromagnetic field) exposure. However, the authors investigated in the current study an extremely low frequency magnetic field exposure without providing a rationale for doing so. This is not comprehensible. It is also unclear and confusing whether the authors studied Schwann cells or Schwannoma cells.
There were no significant effects on cell viability between cells of acute or chronic exposure groups and controls. Cell migration was significantly reduced (starting from 24 and lasting to 72 h) after acute magnetic field exposure, but not after chronic exposure compared to the control group. Acute magnetic field exposure did not induce any significant difference in cell proliferation compared to the untreated control cells. However, the data showed that chronic magnetic field exposure increased the cell proliferation, in parallel with intracellular signaling and metabolic pathways changes. The magnetic field exposure induced a differential expression of several genes, mostly related to ribosomal and translational activation, including several hearing loss-related genes (such as NEFL, TPRN, OTOGL, GJB2, and REST).
The authors conclude that at a preclinical stage magnetic field exposure might promote the transformation of vestibular schwannoma cells and contribute to hearing loss.