この研究は、50 Hz超低周波電磁界（ELF-EMF）の男性生殖系へエピジェニックな影響を調べるイン・ビトロ実験を行った。マウス精母細胞由来細胞株GC-2に50 Hzの ELF-EMF（1 mT、2 mT、3 mT）を断続的（5分間ON、10分間OFF）に72時間ばく露した。その結果、ゲノムDNA全体のメチル化レベルは、1 mTでは擬似ばく露より低く、3 mTでは高かった；同様にDNMT1およびDNMT3bの発現は、1 mTでは擬似ばく露より減少し、3 mTでは増加した；一方、DNMT3a発現への影響は無かった､と報告している。
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Mouse spermatocyte-derived cells were investigated to explore the mechanisms of action of possible adverse effects of magnetic fields on the male reproductive system.
Cells were divided into 4 groups: exposure to a magnetic field of 1) 1 mT, 2) 2 mT, 3) 3 mT and 4) sham exposure.
The global DNA methylation was significantly lower in cells exposed to 1 mT (group 1) compared to the sham exposure group and significantly higher in cells exposed to 2 mT and 3 mT (groups 2 and 3).
In the mRNA and protein expression of DNA methyl-transferases, a trend towards decreased expression rates in groups 1 and 2 and increased expression rates in group 3 in comparison to the sham exposure group was observed.
In the genome wide differential promoter DNA methylation analysis, 296 differentially methylated sites (higher percentage of enhanced methylation) compared to the sham exposure were found in group 1 and 70 differentially methylated sites (higher percentage of decreased methylation) were found in group 3. Comparing the promoter methylation of selected genes with their mRNA expression in both groups, genes with decreased methylation showed a significantly increased mRNA expression and genes with increased methylation showed a significantly decreased mRNA expression.
The genome wide mRNA expression showed 84 differentially expressed genes in group 1 and 324 differentially expressed genes in group 3 compared to the sham exposure group. In both groups, most affected genes belonged to olfactory transduction pathway but different target genes were identified in each group.
The authors conclude that exposure of mouse spermatocyte-derived cells to a 50 Hz magnetic field might have epigenetic effects via DNA methylation with consequential altered gene expression, although the consequences for health remain unknown.