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Bioelectromagnetics. 1997;18(6):439-45.

Intracellular calcium signaling by Jurkat T-lymphocytes exposed to a 60 Hz magnetic field.

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  • 1Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Maryland, USA.


To explore possible biochemical mechanisms whereby electromagnetic fields of around 0.1 mT might affect immune cells or developing cancer cells, we studied intracellular calcium signaling in the model system Jurkat E6-1 human T-leukemia cells during and following exposure to a 60 Hz magnetic field. Cells were labeled with the intracellular calcium-sensitive fluorescent dye Fluo-3, stimulated with a monoclonal antibody against the cell surface structure CD3 (associated with ligand-stimulated T-cell activation), and analyzed on a FACScan flow-cytometer for increases in intensity of emissions in the range of 515-545 nm. Cells were exposed during or before calcium signal-stimulation to 0.15 mTrms 60 Hz magnetic field. The total DC magnetic field of 78.2 microT was aligned 17.5 degrees off the vertical axis. Experiments used both cells cultured at optimal conditions at 37 degrees C and cells grown under suboptimal conditions of 24 degrees C, lowered external calcium, or lowered anti-CD3 concentration. These experiments demonstrate that intracellular signaling in Jurkat E6-1 was not affected by a 60 Hz magnetic field when culture and calcium signal-stimulation were optimal or suboptimal. These results do not exclude field-induced calcium-related effects further down the calcium signaling pathway, such as on calmodulin or other calcium-sensitive enzymes.

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