EMF Health-effects Research

Exposure to cell phone radiation up-regulates apoptosis genes in primary cultures of neurons and astrocytes,

Zhao TY, Zou SP, Knapp PE

Neurosci Lett, Dec 20; 2006

[Epub ahead of print],

The health effects of cell phone radiation exposure are a growing public concern.

This study investigated whether expression of genes related to cell death pathways are dysregulated in primary cultured neurons and astrocytes by exposure to a working Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) cell phone rated at a frequency of 1900MHz.

Primary cultures were exposed to cell phone emissions for 2h. We used array analysis and real-time RT-PCR to show up-regulation of caspase-2, caspase-6 and Asc (apoptosis associated speck-like protein containing a card) gene expression in neurons and astrocytes.

Up-regulation occurred in both "on" and "stand-by" modes in neurons, but only in "on" mode in astrocytes. Additionally, astrocytes showed up-regulation of the Bax gene.

The effects are specific since up-regulation was not seen for other genes associated with apoptosis, such as caspase-9 in either neurons or astrocytes, or Bax in neurons.

The results show that even relatively short-term exposure to cell phone radiofrequency emissions can up-regulate elements of apoptotic pathways in cells derived from the brain, and that neurons appear to be more sensitive to this effect than astrocytes.

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