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To examine whether exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields causes DNA damage in male murine germ cells.
Two experiments were performed. In the first experiment, the dose-related effects were examined: 1.) negative control, 2.) positive control (addition of H2O2), 3.) exposure at specific absorption rate 1 W/kg, 4.) specific absorption rate 2 W/kg and 5.) specific absorption rate 4 W/kg. In the second experiment, the role of oxidative stress was determined: 1.) sham exposure, 2.) sham exposure + alpha-tocopherol, 3.) radiofrequency exposure (4 W/kg) and 4.) radiofrequency exposure (4 W/kg) + alpha-tocopherol. The experiments were repeated thrice.
The alkaline comet assay showed no significant DNA damage in any of the groups. However, using the modified comet assay, a significant DNA damage in the 4 W/kg (but not at 1 W/kg and 2 W/kg) exposed cell cultures was found in comparison to the sham exposed cell cultures. The mean fluorescence intensity of 8-oxoguanine was significantly higher in the 4 W/kg (but not at 1 W/kg and 2 W/kg) exposed cultures than in the sham exposed cultures. In the 4 W/kg and 2 W/kg (but not at 1/W/kg) exposed cultures, the level of reactive oxygen species was significantly increased compared to the sham exposed cell cultures. All the effects were blocked by an addition of alpha-tocopherol (only tested with a specific absorption rate of 4 W/kg). The authors conclude that exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields causes a DNA damage in male germ cells via oxidative stress.