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Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen. 2015 Dec;794:46-51. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2015.10.004. Epub 2015 Oct 29.

Genomic instability induced by 50Hz magnetic fields is a dynamically evolving process not blocked by antioxidant treatment.

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Department of Environmental Science, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland. Electronic address:
Department of Environmental Science, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland.


Increased level of micronuclei was observed in SH-SY5Y cells in a previous study at 8 and 15 days after exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF), indicating possible induction of genomic instability in the progeny of the exposed cells. The aim of this study was to further explore the induction of genomic instability by ELF MFs by increasing the follow-up time up to 45 days after exposure. Human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells were exposed to a 50Hz, 100μT MF for 24h with or without co-exposure to menadione (MQ), a chemical agent that increases cellular superoxide production. Micronuclei, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and lipid peroxidation (LPO) were measured at 15, 30 and 45 days after exposure. To study the possible causal role of ROS in the delayed effects of MF, the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) was administered before MF exposure. Consistently with the previous study, the level of micronuclei was statistically significantly elevated 15 days after exposure. A similar effect was observed at 30 days, but not at 45 days after exposure. The level of LPO was statically significantly decreased 30 and 45 days after exposure. Consistently with our previous findings, the MF effect did not depend on co-exposure to MQ. Treatment with NAC effectively decreased cellular ROS level and suppressed the effect of MQ on ROS, but it did not block the MF effect, indicating that increase in ROS is not needed as a causal link between MF exposure and induction of delayed effects. The results presented here are consistent with genomic instability that persists in the progeny of MF-exposed cells up to at least 30 days after exposure. Changes in LPO observed at 30 and 45 days after exposure indicates that the MF-initiated process may continue up to at least 45 days after exposure.


Induced genomic instability; Lipid peroxidation; Magnetic field; Micronuclei; Reactive oxygen species

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