To verify the hypothesis that exposure of the cells (isolated rat lymphocytes) to 50 Hz or static magnetic fields and simultaneous treatment with a known oxidant, ferrous chloride (FeCl2), may affect the oxidative deterioration of DNA molecules.
Lymphocyte exposure to magnetic field at 7 mT did not increase the number of cells with DNA damage. Incubation of lymphocytes with FeCl2 did not produce a detectable damage of DNA either.
However, when the FeCl2-incubated lymphocytes were simultaneously exposed to 7 mT magnetic field, the number of damaged cells was significantly increased (about 20% for static magnetic field and 15% for power frequency (50 Hz) magnetic field). In the control samples about 97% of the cells did not have any DNA damage.
It is not possible at present to offer a reasonable explanation for the findings (the high increase in the number of lymphocytes showing symptoms of DNA damage following simultaneous exposure). The authors hypothesise that under the influence of simultaneous exposure to FeCl2 and static magnetic field or 50 Hz magnetic field, the number of reactive oxygen species generated by iron cations may increase substantially.