International journal of radiation biology

Pulsed electric field increases reproduction.

PMID 26651869


Purpose To study the effect of pulsed electric field - applied in corona discharge photography - on Drosophila melanogaster reproduction, possible induction of DNA fragmentation, and morphological alterations in the gonads. Materials and methods Animals were exposed to different field intensities (100, 200, 300, and 400 kV/m) during the first 2-5 days of their adult lives, and the effect on reproductive capacity was assessed. DNA fragmentation during early- and mid-oogenesis was investigated by application of the TUNEL (Terminal deoxynucleotide transferase dUTP Nick End Labeling) assay. Sections of follicles after fixation and embedding in resins were observed for possible morphological/developmental abnormalities. Results The field increased reproduction by up to 30% by increasing reproductive capacity in both sexes. The effect increased with increasing field intensities. The rate of increase diminished at the strongest intensities. Slight induction of DNA fragmentation was observed exclusively in the nurse (predominantly) and follicle cells, and exclusively at the two most sensitive developmental stages, i.e., germarium and predominantly stage 7-8. Sections of follicles from exposed females at stages of early and mid-oogennesis other than germarium and stages 7-8 did not reveal abnormalities. Conclusions (1) The specific type of electric field may represent a mild stress factor, inducing DNA fragmentation and cell death in a small percentage of gametes, triggering the reaction of the animal's reproductive system to increase the rate of gametogenesis in order to compensate the loss of a small number of gametes. (2) The nurse cells are the most sensitive from all three types of egg chamber cells. (3) The mid-oogenesis checkpoint (stage 7-8) is more sensitive to this field than the early oogenesis one (germarium) in contrast to microwave exposure. (4) Possible therapeutic applications, or applications in increasing fertility, should be investigated.