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J Membr Biol. 2011 Mar;240(2):63-71. doi: 10.1007/s00232-011-9344-z. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Effects of weak environmental magnetic fields on the spontaneous bioelectrical activity of snail neurons.

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  • 1Department of Medical Physics, Medical Faculty, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.


We examined the effects of 50-Hz magnetic fields in the range of flux densities relevant to our current environmental exposures on action potential (AP), after-hyperpolarization potential (AHP) and neuronal excitability in neurons of land snails, Helix aspersa. It was shown that when the neurons were exposed to magnetic field at the various flux densities, marked changes in neuronal excitability, AP firing frequency and AHP amplitude were seen. These effects seemed to be related to the intensity, type (single and continuous or repeated and cumulative) and length of exposure (18 or 20 min). The extremely low-frequency (ELF) magnetic field exposures affect the excitability of F1 neuronal cells in a nonmonotonic manner, disrupting their normal characteristic and synchronized firing patterns by interfering with the cell membrane electrophysiological properties. Our results could explain one of the mechanisms and sites of action of ELF magnetic fields. A possible explanation of the inhibitory effects of magnetic fields could be a decrease in Ca(2+) influx through inhibition of voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels. The detailed mechanism of effect, however, needs to be further studied under voltage-clamp conditions.

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