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Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2007;123(4):473-82. Epub 2006 Dec 12.

Exposure setup to study potential adverse effects at GSM 1800 and UMTS frequencies on the auditory systems of rats.

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Section of Toxicology and Biomedical Sciences, Casaccia Research Centre, National Agency for New Technologies Energy and Environment (ENEA), via Anguillarese 301, 00123, S. Maria di Galeria, Rome, Italy.


To investigate possible biological effects of exposure to electromagnetic (EM) fields at the frequencies of global system for mobile communication (GSM) 1800 system and universal mobile telecommunication system (UMTS) on the auditory system of rats, an exposure setup for in vivo experiments is presented. The study was carried out in the framework of two European research projects. The target of the investigation was the cochlea. A dosimetric study was performed, both numerically and through direct measurements, to assess the interaction of the radiated fields and the dose distribution in the biological target. For the local exposure of rats, a loop antenna operating at the frequency bands of interest was designed, realised and characterised through numerical and experimental dosimetric procedures. Moreover, an exposure apparatus was set up, consisting of three arrays of four loop antennas, placed on three levels, thus allowing simultaneous exposure of 12 rats to give statistical power to the experiments. To isolate the exposure arrays, the setup was assembled by a wooden rack with EM field absorbing panels, inserted among the levels and at the four sides of the rack. Isolation was verified by direct measurements. Two exposure arrays were simultaneously supplied, whereas the third one was used for sham exposure. Blind exposure was achieved through a black box, hiding physical connections to the microwave power supply. During exposure sessions, rats were restrained in special plastic jigs for repeatable positioning, thus assuring the fixed level of dose in the target.

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