Reproductive integrity of mammalian cells exposed to power frequency electromagnetic fields

Livingston, G.K.; Witt, K.L.; Gandhi, O.P.; Chatterjee, I.; Roti Roti, J.L.

Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 17(1): 49-58


ISSN/ISBN: 0893-6692
PMID: 1991460
DOI: 10.1002/em.2850170108
Accession: 007747413

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Human lymphocytes and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) fibroblasts were analyzed for cytogenetic and cytotoxic endpoints to determine whether exposure to power frequency (60 Hz) electromagnetic fields (EMF) interferes with normal cell growth and reproduction. An exposure chamber was built to apply variable electric current densities of 3, 30, 300 and 3,000 .mu.A/cm2, simultaneously with a fixed magnetic field of 2.2 G to proliferating cells. The current densities were chosen to bracket those that may be induced in the human body by fields measured beneath high voltage (765 kV) power transmission lines. The electric current was applied through the media of a cell culture chamber positioned between two stainless steel electrodes but separated from direct contact with the culture media by a salt bridge composed of a 1% agarose gel. The magnetic field was generated using two pairs of Helmholtz coils driven out of phase producing an elliptically polarized magnetic field out of phase with the electric field. The EMFs were measured and mapped inside the cell culture chamber to insure their uniformity. CHO cells were exposed continuously for 24-96 hr (depending on experiment) and human lymphocytes were exposed continuously for 72 hr. The EMFs were monitored throughout the entire treatment period using a multichemical chart recorder to verify continuous application of the desired fields. Sister-chromatid exchange and micronuclei were monitored to evaluate the potential for genotoxicity. In addition, standard growth curves, clonogenicity, and cell cycle kinetics were analyzed to evaluate possible cytotoxic effects. The experimental data consistently showed that the growth rate and reproductive integrity of both cell types was unaffected by exposure to the electromagnetic fields.

Reproductive integrity of mammalian cells exposed to power frequency electromagnetic fields