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Med Hypotheses. 2001 Aug;57(2):224-30.

Activation of signal-transduction mechanisms may underlie the therapeutic effects of an applied electric field.

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Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa.


Successful treatment of various medical complaints with an applied electric field has been reported over the years. The identities of the cellular mechanisms that are influenced by this type of treatment and facilitate the positive effects, remain elusive. A study of many in vitro and in vivo reports revealed that the beneficial effects can be attributed to the activation of membrane proteins, and specifically proteins involved in signal-transduction mechanisms. Not only may the proteins be affected but it is now well established that enhanced Ca(2+)influx, observed to follow electric stimulation of cells, also contributes to many calcium-dependent cellular processes which can be linked to the therapeutic effects discussed in this paper. An hypothesis of the physical changes caused by an applied, relatively small (10(3)to 10(4)V m(-1)range), electric field with low to moderate frequency (below 150 Hz), is postulated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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