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J Radiat Res. 2018 Jan 1;59(1):18-26. doi: 10.1093/jrr/rrx045.

Effects of 1950 MHz radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on Aβ processing in human neuroblastoma and mouse hippocampal neuronal cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, College of Life Science and Biotechnology, Yonsei University, Seoul 03722, Republic of Korea.
Department of EMF Research Team, Radio and Broadcasting Technology Laboratory, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Daejon, 305-700, Republic of Korea.
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Chungbuk, 362-763, Republic of Korea.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease leading to progressive loss of memory and other cognitive functions. One of the well-known pathological markers of AD is the accumulation of amyloid-beta protein (Aβ), and its plaques, in the brain. Recent studies using Tg-5XFAD mice as a model of AD have reported that exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) from cellular phones reduced Aβ plaques in the brain and showed beneficial effects on AD. In this study, we examined whether exposure to 1950 MHz RF-EMF affects Aβ processing in neural cells. We exposed HT22 mouse hippocampal neuronal cells and SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells to RF-EMF (SAR 6 W/kg) for 2 h per day for 3 days, and analyzed the mRNA and protein expression of the key genes related to Aβ processing. When exposed to RF-EMF, mRNA levels of APP, BACE1, ADAM10 and PSEN1 were decreased in HT22, but the mRNA level of APP was not changed in SH-SY5Y cells. The protein expression of APP and BACE1, as well as the secreted Aβ peptide, was not significantly different between RF-EMF-exposed 7w-PSML, HT22 and SH-SY5Y cells and the unexposed controls. These observations suggest that RF-EMF exposure may not have a significant physiological effect on Aβ processing of neural cells in the short term. However, considering that we only exposed HT22 and SH-SY5Y cells to RF-EMF for 2 h per day for 3 days, we cannot exclude the possibility that 1950 MHz RF-EMF induces physiological change in Aβ processing with long-term and continuous exposure.


1950 MHz radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF); Alzheimer’s disease; Aβ processing; CHO cell–based 7w-PSML cell line; human neuroblastoma cell line; mouse hippocampal neuronal cell line

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