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Bioelectromagnetics. 2009 Oct;30(7):525-35. doi: 10.1002/bem.20502.

Reactive oxygen species formation is not enhanced by exposure to UMTS 1950 MHz radiation and co-exposure to ferrous ions in Jurkat cells.

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  • 1Interuniversity Center on Interaction Between Electromagnetic Fields and Biosystems, Genova, Italy.


This study was designed to assess if radiofrequency (RF) radiation induces oxidative stress in cultured mammalian cells when given alone or in combination with ferrous ions (FeSO(4)). For this purpose the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was measured by flow cytometry in human lymphoblastoid cells exposed to 1950 MHz signal used by the third generation wireless technology of the Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) at Specific Absorption Rate of 0.5 and 2.0 W/kg. Short (5-60 min) or long (24 h) duration exposures were carried out in a waveguide system under strictly controlled conditions of both dosimetry and environment. Cell viability was also measured after 24 h RF exposure using the Resazurin and Neutral Red assays. Several co-exposure protocols were applied to test if RF radiation is able to alter ROS formation induced by FeSO(4) (RF given before or concurrently to FeSO(4)). The results obtained indicate that non-thermal RF exposures do not increase spontaneous ROS formation in any of the experimental conditions investigated. Consistent with the lack of ROS production, no change in cell viability was observed in Jurkat cells exposed to RF radiation for 24 h. Similar results were obtained when co-exposures were considered: combined exposures to RF radiation and FeSO(4) did not increase ROS formation induced by the chemical treatment alone. In contrast, in cultures treated with FeSO(4) as positive control, a dose-dependent increase in ROS formation was recorded, validating the sensitivity of the method employed.

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