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Mutat Res. 2011 May 18;722(1):84-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2011.03.011. Epub 2011 Mar 29.

Toxicity and SOS response to ELF magnetic field and nalidixic acid in E. coli cells.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


Extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields have previously been shown to affect conformation of chromatin and cell proliferation. Possible genotoxic and carcinogenic effects of ELF have also been discussed and tested. In this study, we analyzed the effect of ELF on chromatin conformation in E. coli GE499 cells by the anomalous viscosity time dependence (AVTD) technique. Possible genotoxic ELF effects at the specific combination of static and ELF magnetic fields, that has been proven to have effects on chromatin conformation, were investigated by clonogenic assay, cell growth kinetics, and analysis of SOS-response using inducible recA-lacZ fusion and the β-galactosidase assay. Genotoxic agent nalidixic acid (NAL) was used as positive control and in combination with ELF. Nalidixic acid at 3-30μg/ml decreased the AVTD peaks and induced cytotoxic effect. In contrast to NAL, ELF increased AVTD, stimulated cell growth, and increased cloning efficiency. These effects depended on frequency within the frequency range of 7-11Hz. While NAL induced SOS response, ELF exposure did not induce the recA-lacZ fusion. Exposure to ELF did not modify the genotoxic effects of NAL either. All together, the data show that ELF, under specific conditions of exposure, acted as nontoxic but cell growth stimulating agent.

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