EMF Health-effects Research

Effects of radiofrequency exposure on the GABAergic system in the rat cerebellum: clues from semi-quantitative immunohistochemistry

Mausset A, de Seze R, Montpeyroux F, Privat A

Brain Res 912(1):33-46, 2001

The widespread use of cellular phones raises the problem of interaction of electromagnetic fields with the central nervous system (CNS).

In order to measure these effects on neurotransmitter content in the CNS, we developed a protocol of neurotransmitter detection based on immunohistochemistry and image analysis. Gamma-vinyl-GABA (GVG), an inhibitor of the GABA-transaminase was injected in rats to increase GABA concentration in the CNS. The cellular GABA contents were then revealed by immunohistochemistry and semi-quantified by image analysis thanks to three parameters: optical density (O.D.), staining area, and number of positive cells.

The increase in cerebellar GABA content induced by GVG 1200 mg/kg was reflected in these three parameters in the molecular and the granular layers. Therefore, control of immunohistochemistry parameters, together with appropriate image analysis, allowed both the location and the detection of variations in cellular neurotransmitter content. This protocol was used to investigate the effects of exposure to 900 MHz radiofrequencies on cerebellar GABA content.

Both pulsed emission with a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 4 W/kg and continuous emission with high SAR (32 W/kg) were tested. We observed a selective diminution of the stained processes area in the Purkinje cell layer after exposure to pulsed radiofrequency and, in addition, a decrease in O.D. in the three cell layers after exposure to continuous waves.

Whether this effect is, at least partly, due to a local heating of the tissues is not known. Overall, it appears that high energetic radiofrequency exposure induces a diminution in cellular GABA content in the cerebellum.

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