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Bioelectromagnetics. 2005 Oct;26(7):529-35.

Electromagnetic fields (GSM 1800) do not alter blood-brain barrier permeability to sucrose in models in vitro with high barrier tightness.

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  • 1Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurologie, Münster, Germany.


We previously reported that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) [GSM 1800 standard (Global System for Mobile Communications, 1800 MHz)] increased sucrose permeation across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vitro. The cell culture model used in our previous study was comprised of rat astrocytes in coculture with porcine brain microvascular endothelial cells (PBECs). In this study, after optimization of cell culture conditions, distinctly improved barrier tightness was observed, accompanied by a loss of susceptibility to EMF-related effects on BBB permeability. Cell cultures were exposed for 1-5 days at an average specific absorption rate (SAR) of 0.3 W/kg in the identical exposure system as described before. To quantify barrier tightness, sucrose permeation across exposed PBEC was measured and compared to values of sham exposed cells and to a control group. Additionally, observations in the BBB coculture system were complemented by similar experiments using two other in vitro models, composed of PBEC monocultures with or without serum. These three models display distinctly higher barrier tightness than the previously used system. In all three BBB models, sucrose permeation across the cell layers remained unaffected by exposure to a GSM 1800 field for up to 5 days. We thus could not confirm enhanced permeability of the BBB in vitro after EMF exposure as reported before since the in vitro barrier tightness in these experiments is now more like that of the in vivo situation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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