EMF Health-effects Research

DNA synthesis and cell proliferation in C6 glioma and primary glial cells exposed to a 836.55 MHz modulated radiofrequency field.

Stagg RB, Thomas WJ, Jones RA, Adey WR

Bioelectromagnetics 18(3):230-236, 1997

We have tested the hypothesis that modulated radiofrequency (RF) fields may act as a tumor-promoting agent by altering DNA synthesis, leading to increased cell proliferation. In vitro tissue cultures of transformed and normal rat glial cells were exposed to an 836.55 MHz, packet-modulated RF field at three power densities: 0.09, 0.9, and 9 mW/cm2, resulting in specific absorption rates (SARs) ranging from 0.15 to 59 muW/g. TEM-mode transmission-line cells were powered by a prototype time-domain multiple-access (TDMA) transmitter that conforms to the North American digital cellular telephone standard.

One sham and one energized TEM cell were placed in standard incubators maintained at 37 degrees C and 5% CO2. DNA synthesis experiments at 0.59-59 muW/g SAR were performed on log-phase and serum-starved semiquiescent cultures after 24 h exposure. Cell growth at 0.15-15 muW/g SAR was determined by cell counts of log-phase cultures on days 0, 1, 5, 7, 9, 12, and 14 of a 2 week protocol.

Results from the DNA synthesis assays differed for the two cell types. Sham-exposed and RF-exposed cultures of primary rat glial cells showed no significant differences for either log-phase or serum-starved condition. C6 glioma cells exposed to RF at 5.9 muW/g SAR (0.9 mW/cm2) exhibited small (20-40%) significant increases in 38% of [3H]thymidine incorporation experiments.

Growth curves of sham and RF-exposed cultures showed no differences in either normal or transformed glial cells at any of the power densities tested. Cell doubling times of C6 glioma cells [sham (21.9 +/- 1.4 h) vs. field (22.7 +/- 3.2 h)] also demonstrated no significant differences that could be attributed to altered DNA synthesis rates. Under these conditions, this modulated RF field did not increase cell proliferation of normal or transformed cultures of glial origin.

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