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Toxicol In Vitro. 2017 Apr;40:264-271. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2017.01.012. Epub 2017 Jan 24.

Evaluation of the potential of mobile phone specific electromagnetic fields (UMTS) to produce micronuclei in human glioblastoma cell lines.

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Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Internal Medicine 1, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Center for Public Health, Institute of Environmental Health, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
IT'IS Foundation, Zurich, Switzerland.
Department of Genetic Toxicology and Cancer Biology, National Institute of Biology, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Internal Medicine 1, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:


Some epidemiological studies indicate that mobile phones cause glioblastomas in humans. Since it is known that genomic instability plays a key role in the etiology of cancer, we investigated the effects of the universal mobile telecommunications system radiofrequency (UMTS-RF) signal, which is used in "smart" phones, on micronucleus (MN) formation and other anomalies such as nuclear buds (NBUDs) and nucleoplasmatic bridges (NPBs). MN are formed by structural and numerical aberrations, NBs reflect gene amplification and NPBs are formed from dicentric chromosomes. The experiments were conducted with human glioblastoma cell lines, which differ in regard to their p53 status, namely U87 (wild-type) and U251 (mutated). The cells were cultivated for 16h in presence and absence of fetal calf serum and exposed to different SAR doses (0.25, 0.50 and 1.00W/kg), which reflect the exposure of humans, in presence and absence of mitomycin C as former studies indicate that RF may cause synergistic effects in combination with this drug. We found no evidence for induction of MN and other anomalies. However, with the highest dose, induction of apoptosis was observed in U251 cells on the basis of the morphological features of the cells. Our findings indicate that the UMTS-RF signal does not cause chromosomal damage in glioblastoma cells; the mechanisms which lead to induction of programmed cell death will be investigated in further studies.


Genotoxicity; Glioblastoma; In vitro; Micronucleus; Non-ionizing radio frequency; UMTS

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