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Bioelectromagnetics. 2011 Jan;32(1):28-36. doi: 10.1002/bem.20608.

In vitro study of the effects of ELF electric fields on gene expression in human epidermal cells.

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Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.


An acceleration of differentiation, at the expense of proliferation, is observed after exposure of various biological models to low frequency and low amplitude electric and electromagnetic fields. Following these results showing significant modifications, we try to identify the biological mechanism involved at the cell level through microarray screening. For this study, we use epidermis cultures harvested from human abdominoplasty. Two platinum electrodes are used to apply the electric signal. The gene expressions of 38,500 well-characterized human genes are analyzed using Affymetrix(®) microarray U133 Plus 2.0 chips. The protocol is repeated on three different patients. After three periods of exposure, a total of 24 chips have been processed. After the application of ELF electric fields, the microarray analysis confirms a modification of the gene expression of epidermis cells. Particularly, four up-regulated genes (DKK1, TXNRD1, ATF3, and MME) and one down-regulated gene (MACF1) are involved in the regulation of proliferation and differentiation. Expression of these five genes was also confirmed by real-time rtPCR in all samples used for microarray analysis. These results corroborate an acceleration of cell differentiation at the expense of cell proliferation.

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