EMF Health-effects Research

Effect of electromagnetic field exposure on chemically induced differentiation of friend erythroleukemia cells

Chen G, Upham BL, Sun W, Chang CC, Rothwell EJ, Chen KM, Yamasaki H, Trosko JE

Environ Health Perspect 2000 Oct;108(10):967-72 2000

Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.

Whether exposure of humans to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) can cause cancer is controversial and therefore needs further research. We used a Friend erythroleukemia cell line that can be chemically induced to differentiate to determine whether ELF-EMF could alter proliferation and differentiation in these cells in a manner similar to that of a chemical tumor promoter.

Exposure of this cell line to 60 Hz ELF-EMF resulted in a dose dependent inhibition of differentiation, with maximal inhibition peaking at 40% and 40 mG (4 uT). ELF-EMF at 10 mG (1.0 uT) and 25 mG (2.5 uT) inhibited differentiation at 0 and 20%, respectively. ELF-EMF at 1.0 (100) and 10.0 G (1,000 uT) stimulated cell proliferation 50% above the sham-treated cells.

The activity of telomerase, a marker of undifferentiated cells, decreased 100 [times] when the cells were induced to differentiate under sham conditions, but when the cells were exposed to 0.5 G (50 uT) there was only a 10 [times] decrease.

In summary, ELF-EMF can partially block the differentiation of Friend erythroleukemia cells, and this results in a larger population of cells remaining in the undifferentiated, proliferative state, which is similar to the published results of Friend erythroleukemia cells treated with chemical-tumor promoters.

Please e-mail comments, information and updates to DON MAISCH: