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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54376. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054376. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields modulates Na+ currents in rat cerebellar granule cells through increase of AA/PGE2 and EP receptor-mediated cAMP/PKA pathway.

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Institutes of Brain Science, School of Life Sciences and State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.


Although the modulation of Ca(2+) channel activity by extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) has been studied previously, few reports have addressed the effects of such fields on the activity of voltage-activated Na(+) channels (Na(v)). Here, we investigated the effects of ELF-EMF on Na(v) activity in rat cerebellar granule cells (GCs). Our results reveal that exposing cerebellar GCs to ELF-EMF for 10-60 min significantly increased Na(v) currents (I(Na)) by 30-125% in a time- and intensity-dependent manner. The Na(v) channel steady-state activation curve, but not the steady-state inactivation curve, was significantly shifted (by 5.2 mV) towards hyperpolarization by ELF-EMF stimulation. This phenomenon is similar to the effect of intracellular application of arachidonic acid (AA) and prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) on I(Na) in cerebellar GCs. Increases in intracellular AA, PGE(2) and phosphorylated PKA levels in cerebellar GCs were observed following ELF-EMF exposure. Western blottings indicated that the Na(V) 1.2 protein on the cerebellar GCs membrane was increased, the total expression levels of Na(V) 1.2 protein were not affected after exposure to ELF-EMF. Cyclooxygenase inhibitors and PGE(2) receptor (EP) antagonists were able to eliminate this ELF-EMF-induced increase in phosphorylated PKA and I(Na). In addition, ELF-EMF exposure significantly enhanced the activity of PLA(2) in cerebellar GCs but did not affect COX-1 or COX-2 activity. Together, these data demonstrate for the first time that neuronal I(Na) is significantly increased by ELF-EMF exposure via a cPLA2 AA PGE(2) EP receptors PKA signaling pathway.

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