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Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 4;9(1):1201. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37874-z.

Decreased dopamine in striatum and difficult locomotor recovery from MPTP insult after exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Chungnam, Republic of Korea.
2
Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Dankook University, Cheonan, Chungnam, Republic of Korea.
3
Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Chungnam, Republic of Korea. hrkim@dankook.ac.kr.

Abstract

Concern is growing about possible neuronal effects of human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields because of the increasing usage of cell phones and the close proximity of these devices to the brain when in use. We found that exposure to a radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) of 835 MHz (4.0 W/kg specific absorption rate [SAR] for 5 h/day for 12 weeks) affects striatal neurons in C57BL/6 mice. The number of synaptic vesicles (SVs) in striatal presynaptic boutons was significantly decreased after RF-EMF exposure. The expression levels of synapsin I and II were also significantly decreased in the striatum of the RF-EMF-exposed group. RF-EMF exposure led to a reduction in dopamine concentration in the striatum and also to a decrease in the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase in striatal neurons. Furthermore, in behavioral tests, exposure to RF-EMF impeded the recovery of locomotor activities after repeated treatments with 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). These results suggest that the observed decrease in dopamine concentration in the striatum was caused by both a reduction in the number of dopaminergic neurons and a decline in the number of SVs. The decreased dopamine neuron numbers and concentration seen after RF-EMF exposure would have caused the difficult recovery after MPTP treatment. In summary, our results strongly suggest that exposing the brain to RF-EMF can decrease the number of SVs and dopaminergic neurons in the striatum. These primary changes impair the recovery of locomotor activities following MPTP damage to the striatum.

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