EMF Health-effects Research

Mechanism of a short-term ERK activation by electromagnetic fields at mobile phone frequency,

Friedman J, Kraus S, Hauptman Y, Schiff Y, Seger R

Biochem J, Apr 25; 2007

[Epub ahead of print]

The exposure to non-thermal microwave electromagnetic field generated by mobile phones affects the expression of many proteins. This effect on transcription and protein stability can be mediated by the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades, which serve as central signaling pathways, and govern essentially all stimulated cellular processes. Indeed, a long-term exposure of cells to mobile phone irradiation results in the activation of p38MAPKs as well as the ERK/MAPKs.

Here we studied the immediate effect of irradiation on the MAPK cascades, and found that ERKs, but not stress related MAPKs are rapidly activated in response to various frequencies and intensities. Using signaling inhibitors we delineated the mechanism that is involved in this activation.

We found that the first step is mediated in the plasma membrane by NADH oxidase, which rapidly generates reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS then directly stimulate matrix metalloproteinases and allow them to cleave and release heparin binding-EGF. This secreted factor, activates EGF receptor, which in turn further activates the ERK cascade.

Thus, this study demonstrates for the first time a detailed molecular mechanism by which electromagnetic irradiation by mobile phones induces the activation of the ERK cascade and thereby induces transcription and other cellular processes.

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