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World J Biol Chem. 2012 Feb 26;3(2):34-40. doi: 10.4331/wjbc.v3.i2.34.

Modulation of heat shock protein response in SH-SY5Y by mobile phone microwaves.

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Emanuele Calabrò, Salvatore Magazù, Department of Physics, University of Messina, 98166 Messina, Italy.



To investigate putative biological damage caused by GSM mobile phone frequencies by assessing electromagnetic fields during mobile phone working.


Neuron-like cells, obtained by retinoic-acid-induced differentiation of human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, were exposed for 2 h and 4 h to microwaves at 1800 MHz frequency bands.


Cell stress response was evaluated by MTT assay as well as changes in the heat shock protein expression (Hsp20, Hsp27 and Hsp70) and caspase-3 activity levels, as biomarkers of apoptotic pathway. Under our experimental conditions, neither cell viability nor Hsp27 expression nor caspase-3 activity was significantly changed. Interestingly, a significant decrease in Hsp20 expression was observed at both times of exposure, whereas Hsp70 levels were significantly increased only after 4 h exposure.


The modulation of the expression of Hsps in neuronal cells can be an early response to radiofrequency microwaves.


Apoptosis; Electromagnetic field; Heat shock proteins; Microwaves; SH-SY5Y differentiated cells

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