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Bioelectromagnetics. 2001 Apr;22(3):185-93.

Large granular lymphocytic (LGL) leukemia in rats exposed to intermittent 60 Hz magnetic fields.

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Battelle Memorial Institute, Richland, Washington, USA.


An animal model for large granular lymphocytic (LGL) leukemia in male Fischer 344 rats was utilized to determine whether magnetic field exposure can be shown to influence the progression of leukemia. We previously reported that exposure to continuous 60 Hz, 1 mT magnetic fields did not significantly alter the clinical progression of LGL leukemia in young male rats following injection of spleen cells from donor leukemic rats. Results presented here extend those studies with the following objectives: (a) to replicate the previous study of continuous 60 Hz magnetic field exposures, but using fewer LGL cells in the inoculum, and (b) to determine if intermittent 60 Hz magnetic fields can alter the clinical progression of leukemia. Rats were randomly assigned to four treatment groups (18/group) as follows: (1) 1 mT (10 G) continuous field, (2) 1 mT intermittent field (off/on at 3 min intervals), (3) ambient controls ( < 0.1 microT), and (4) positive control (5 Gy whole body irradiation from cobalt-60 four days prior to initiation of exposure). All rats were injected intraperitoneally with 2.2 x 10(6) fresh, viable LGL leukemic spleen cells at the beginning of the study. The fields were activated for 20 h per day, 7 days per week, and all exposure conditions were superimposed over the natural ambient magnetic field. The rats were weighed and palpated for splenomegaly weekly. Splenomegaly developed 9-11 weeks after transplantation of the leukemia cells. Hematological evaluations were performed at 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 weeks of exposure. Peripheral blood hemoglobin concentration, red blood cells, and packed cell volume declined, and total white blood cells and LGL cells increased dramatically in all treatment groups after onset of leukemia. Although the positive control group showed different body weight curves and developed signs of leukemia earlier than other groups, differences were not detected between exposure groups and ambient controls. Furthermore, there were no overall effects of magnetic fields on splenomegaly or survival in exposed animals. In addition, no significant and/or consistent differences were detected in hematological parameters between the magnetic field exposed and the ambient control groups.

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