EMF Health-effects Research

Impact of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on DNA integrity in the male germline

Aitken RJ, Bennetts LE, Sawyer D, Wiklendt AM, King BV.

International Journal of Andrology OnlineEarly doi:10.1111/j.1365-2605.2005.00531.x -- 2005

OnlineEarly doi:10.1111/j.1365-2605.2005.00531.x

Concern has arisen over human exposures to radio frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF EMR), including a recent report indicating that regular mobile phone use can negatively impact upon human semen quality. These effects would be particularly serious if the biological effects of RF EMR included the induction of DNA damage in male germ cells.

In this study, mice were exposed to 900 MHz RF EMR at a specific absorption rate of approximately 90 mW/kg inside a waveguide for 7 days at 12 h per day. Following exposure, DNA damage to caudal epididymal spermatozoa was assessed by quantitative PCR (QPCR) as well as alkaline and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.

The treated mice were overtly normal and all assessment criteria, including sperm number, morphology and vitality were not significantly affected. Gel electrophoresis revealed no gross evidence of increased single- or double-DNA strand breakage in spermatozoa taken from treated animals.

However, a detailed analysis of DNA integrity using QPCR revealed statistically significant damage to both the mitochondrial genome (p < 0.05) and the nuclear -globin locus (p < 0.01).

This study suggests that while RF EMR does not have a dramatic impact on male germ cell development, a significant genotoxic effect on epididymal spermatozoa is evident and deserves further investigation.

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