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Br J Pharmacol. 2002 May;136(1):57-66.

Effect of low frequency electromagnetic fields on A2A adenosine receptors in human neutrophils.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Pharmacology Unit, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.


The present study describes the effect of low frequency, low energy, pulsing electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) on A2A adenosine receptors in human neutrophils. Saturation experiments performed using a high affinity adenosine antagonist [3H]-ZM 241385 revealed a single class of binding sites in control and in PEMF-treated human neutrophils with similar affinity (KD=1.05+/-0.10 and 1.08+/-0.12 nM, respectively). Furthermore, after 1 h of exposure to PEMFs the receptor density was statistically increased (P<0.01) (Bmax =126+/-10 and 215+/-15 fmol mg-1 protein, respectively). The effect of PEMFs was specific to the A2A adenosine receptors. This effect was also intensity, time and temperature dependent. In the adenylyl cyclase assays the A2A receptor agonists, HE-NECA and NECA, increased cyclic AMP accumulation in untreated human neutrophils with an EC50 value of 43 (40 - 47) and 255 (228 - 284) nM, respectively. The capability of HE-NECA and NECA to stimulate cyclic AMP levels in human neutrophils was increased (P<0.01) after exposure to PEMFs with an EC50 value of 10(8 - 13) and 61(52 - 71) nM, respectively. In the superoxide anion (O2-) production assays HE-NECA and NECA inhibited the generation of O2- in untreated human neutrophils, with an EC50 value of 3.6(3.1 - 4.2) and of 23(20 - 27) nM, respectively. Moreover, in PEMF-treated human neutrophils, the same compounds show an EC50 value of 1.6(1.2 - 2.1) and of 6.0(4.7 - 7.5) nM respectively. These results indicate the presence of significant alterations in the expression and in the functionality of adenosine A2A receptors in human neutrophils treated with PEMFs.

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