EMF Health-effects Research

Hsp70 expression and free radical release after exposure to non-thermal radio-frequency electromagnetic fields and ultrafine particles in human Mono Mac 6 cells.

Simko M, Hartwig C, Lantow M, Lupke M, Mattsson MO, Rahman Q, Rollwitz J.

Toxicol Lett. 161(1):73-82, 2006

The contemporary urban environment has become increasingly complex in its composition, leading to discussions regarding possible novel health effects.

Two factors that recently have received considerable attention are ultrafine particles (UFP; <0.1mum) produced by combustion processes and emissions from wireless communication devices like mobile phones that emit in the radio-frequency (RF) part of the spectrum. Several studies have shown biological effects of both these exposures in various cell systems.

Here we investigate if exposure to UFP (12-14nm, 100mug/ml) and RF-electromagnetic fields (EMF; 2W/kg specific absorption rate (SAR); continuous wave (CW) or modulated (217Hz or GSM-nonDTX)), alone or in combination influences levels of the superoxide radical anion or the stress protein heat-shock protein (Hsp70) in the human monocyte cell line Mono Mac 6.

Heat treatment (42-43 degrees C, 1h) was used as positive control for both stress reaction and for heat development in the RF exposure setup. Our results clearly show that Mono Mac 6 cells are capable to internalise UFP, and that this phagocytic activity is connected to an increased release of free radicals. This increase (40-45% above negative control) is stronger than the effect of heat treatment. On the other hand, none of the employed RF exposures showed any effects on free radical levels. Co-exposure of RF and UFP did not potentiate the UFP effect either.

Our investigations showed a significantly increased Hsp70 expression level by heat treatment in a time-dependent manner, whereas UFP, RF, or UFP+RF were without any effect. Therefore, we conclude that in the investigated Mono Mac 6 cells, RF exposure alone or in combination with UFP cannot influence stress-related responses.

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