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Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2018 Dec;21(12):1269-1274. doi: 10.22038/ijbms.2018.29567.7133.

Exposure to cell phone radiofrequency changes corticotrophin hormone levels and histology of the brain and adrenal glands in male Wistar rat.

Author information

Physiology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran.
Neuroscience Research Center, Health Research Institute, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran.
Student Research Committee, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran.
Anatomy Department, Faculty of Medicine, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran.
Cellular and Molecular Biology Research Center, Health Research Institute, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran.



Nowadays, the electromagnetic field-emitting devices are used routinely in our lives. Controversial reports exist concerning the effects of mobile radiofrequency (RF) on different parts of the body, especially stress hormones. The main goal of the present work was to study the long-term effects of mobile RF900 MHz exposure with special focus on the adrenal gland pathophysiology and function.

Materials and Methods:

Adult male Wistar rats were exposed to mobile RF 6 hr daily for 4-8 weeks. Intact and switched-off exposed animals were considered as controls. Plasma ACTH and cortisol levels were measured by the ELISA method. At the end of the experiment, a histological study was done on adrenal gland and brain tissues by hematoxylin and eosin staining. The thickness of the fasciculate layer of the adrenal gland, and its cell count and perimeter were measured using the Fiji software.


Enhanced plasma ACTH and cortisol levels were found after prolonged exposure to mobile RF. The fasciculata layer of adrenal cortex eventually thickened following mobile RF radiation. While the number of cells in zona fasciculata remained constant, the cell size and perimeter increased during RF exposure. Finally, we found that vacuolization in brain tissue and the number and size of vacuoles considerably increased during two months of RF exposure.


Cell phone RF exposure induced significant hormonal and structural changes in adrenal gland and brain tissues. Therefore, the public should be aware and limit their exposure as much as possible.


Adrenal glands; Cell phone; Corticotropin hormone; Cortisol; Hypertrophy; Radio-frequency

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

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