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Environ Res. 1994 Apr;65(1):149-60.

Electric field exposure and evidence of stress in mice.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Morphology, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein, Republic of South Africa.


The effect of stress induced by an electric field on the adrenal gland cortex of mice was examined by means of corticosterone serum assay and evaluation of the lipid profile of the different zones of the cortex. Six generations of experimental mice were exposed to a 10 kV/m electric field from conception and corresponding control groups were sham exposed. Mice were sacrificed at 35 days (n = 10), as adults (n = 20) and at 18 months (old mice) (n = 10). Blinded lipid estimates were performed on histological preparations of the adrenals, serum corticosterone levels were determined, and the results were statistically analyzed. The mean lipid volume in the zona glomerulosa of the exposed adult male group was significantly higher than that of the control group (P = 0.004). The median daytime corticosterone level of the exposed male mice was also significantly higher than that in the controls (P = 0.02). The lipid profiles and corticosterone values in the other subgroups did not differ significantly. As chronic stress increases the lipid volume of all the zones of the adrenal cortex and stimulates the zona glomerulosa to corticosterone secretion, the data suggests that the electric field acted as a chronic stressor in the adult male mice.

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