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PloS one

Neuronal cellular responses to extremely low frequency electromagnetic field exposure: implications regarding oxidative stress and neurodegeneration.


PMID 25127118

Abstract

Neurodegenerative diseases comprise both hereditary and sporadic conditions characterized by an identifying progressive nervous system dysfunction and distinctive neuopathophysiology. The majority are of non-familial etiology and hence environmental factors and lifestyle play key roles in their pathogenesis. The extensive use of and ever increasing worldwide demand for electricity has stimulated societal and scientific interest on the environmental exposure to low frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on human health. Epidemiological studies suggest a positive association between 50/60-Hz power transmission fields and leukemia or lymphoma development. Consequent to the association between EMFs and induction of oxidative stress, concerns relating to development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer disease (AD), have been voiced as the brain consumes the greatest fraction of oxygen and is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress. Exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF)-EMFs are reported to alter animal behavior and modulate biological variables, including gene expression, regulation of cell survival, promotion of cellular differentiation, and changes in cerebral blood flow in aged AD transgenic mice. Alterations in inflammatory responses have also been reported, but how these actions impact human health remains unknown. We hence evaluated the effects of an electromagnetic wave (magnetic field intensity 1 mT; frequency, 50-Hz) on a well-characterized immortalized neuronal cell model, human SH-SY5Y cells. ELF-EMF exposure elevated the expession of NOS and O2(-), which were countered by compensatory changes in antioxidant catylase (CAT) activity and enzymatic kinetic parameters related to CYP-450 and CAT activity. Actions of ELF-EMFs on cytokine gene expression were additionally evaluated and found rapidly modified. Confronted with co-exposure to H2O2-induced oxidative stress, ELF-EMF proved not as well counteracted and resulted in a decline in CAT activity and a rise in O2(-) levels. Together these studies support the further evaluation of ELF-EMF exposure in cellular and in vivo preclinical models to define mechanisms potentially impacted in humans.