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To study the effect of acute exposure to low-level microwaves on cholinergic activity in the brain of rats. In addition, the authors also investigated whether a narcotic antagonist (naltrexone hydrochloride, naloxone hydrochloride) could block the effects of microwaves on choline uptake in the CNS.
Pulsed microwave exposure decreased choline uptake in the hippocampus and frontal cortex but had no significant effect on the hypothalamus, striatum, and inferior colliculus. Pretreatment with naloxone or naltrexone blocked the effect of pulsed microwaves on hippocampal choline uptake but did not significantly alter the effect on the frontal cortex. Exposure to continuous wave (CW) microwaves did not significantly affect choline uptake in the hippocampus, striatum, and hypothalamus but decreased the uptake in the frontal cortex. The effect on the frontal cortex was not changed by pretreatment with narcotic antagonist. The results suggest that irradiation with low-level pulsed or continuous wave (CW) microwaves leads to changes in cholinergic functions in the brain.