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Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2018 May;22(3):277-289. doi: 10.4196/kjpp.2018.22.3.277. Epub 2018 Apr 25.

Exposure to 835 MHz RF-EMF decreases the expression of calcium channels, inhibits apoptosis, but induces autophagy in the mouse hippocampus.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan 31116, Korea.
Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 06974, Korea.


The exponential increase in the use of mobile communication has triggered public concerns about the potential adverse effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) emitted by mobile phones on the central nervous system (CNS). In this study, we explored the relationship between calcium channels and apoptosis or autophagy in the hippocampus of C57BL/6 mice after RF-EMF exposure with a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 4.0 W/kg for 4 weeks. Firstly, the expression level of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs), a key regulator of the entry of calcium ions into the cell, was confirmed by immunoblots. We investigated and confirmed that pan-calcium channel expression in hippocampal neurons were significantly decreased after exposure to RF-EMF. With the observed accumulation of autolysosomes in hippocampal neurons via TEM, the expressions of autophagy-related genes and proteins (e.g., LC3B-II) had significantly increased. However, down-regulation of the apoptotic pathway may contribute to the decrease in calcium channel expression, and thus lower levels of calcium in hippocampal neurons. These results suggested that exposure of RF-EMF could alter intracellular calcium homeostasis by decreasing calcium channel expression in the hippocampus; presumably by activating the autophagy pathway, while inhibiting apoptotic regulation as an adaptation process for 835 MHz RF-EMF exposure.


Apoptosis; Autophagy; Calcium channels; Hippocampus; Radiofrequency electromagnetic field

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