EMF Health-effects Research

Individual responsiveness to induction of micronuclei in human lymphocytes after exposure in vitro to 1800-MHz microwave radiation.

Zotti-Martelli L, Peccatori M, Maggini V, Ballardin M, Barale R.

Mutat Res. 582(1-2):42-52, 2005

The widespread application of microwaves is of great concern in view of possible consequences for human health. Many in vitro studies have been carried out to detect possible effects on DNA and chromatin structure following exposure to microwave radiation.

The aim of this study is to assess the capability of microwaves, at different power densities and exposure times, to induce genotoxic effects as evaluated by the in vitro micronucleus (MN) assay on peripheral blood lymphocytes from nine different healthy donors, and to investigate also the possible inter-individual response variability.

Whole blood samples were exposed for 60, 120 and 180min to continuous microwave radiation with a frequency of 1800MHz and power densities of 5, 10 and 20mW/cm2. Reproducibility was tested by repeating the experiment 3 months later.

Multivariate analysis showed that lymphocyte proliferation indices were significantly different among donors (p<0.004) and between experiments (p<0.01), whereas the applied power density and the exposure time did not have any effect on them.

Both spontaneous and induced MN frequencies varied in a highly significant way among donors (p<0.009) and between experiments (p<0.002), and a statistically significant increase of MN, although rather low, was observed dependent on exposure time (p=0.0004) and applied power density (p=0.0166). A considerable decrease in spontaneous and induced MN frequencies was measured in the second experiment. The results show that microwaves are able to induce MN in short-time exposures to medium power density fields. Our data analysis highlights a wide inter-individual variability in the response, which was confirmed to be a characteristic reproducible trait by means of the second experiment.

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