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Cell Tissue Res. 1998 Feb;291(2):217-30.

The role of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels in neurite growth of cultured chromaffin cells induced by extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic field stimulation.

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  • 1Depto. de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apdo. Postal 70-250, 04510 Mexico City, Mexico D.F.


The ion Ca2+ has been shown to play an important role in a wide variety of cellular functions, one of them being related to cell differentiation in which nerve growth factor (NGF) is involved. Chromaffin cells obtained from adrenals of 2- to 3-day-old rats were cultured for 7 days. During this time, these cells were subjected to the application of either NGF or extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF MF). Since this induced cell differentiation toward neuronal-like cells, the mechanism by which this occurred was studied. When the L-Ca2+ channel blocker nifedipine was applied simultaneously with ELF MF, this differentiation did not take place, but it did when an N-Ca2+ channel blocker was used. In contrast, none of the Ca2+ channel blockers prevented differentiation in the presence of NGF. In addition, Bay K-8644, an L-Ca2+ channel agonist, increased both the percentage of differentiated cells and neurite length in the presence of ELF MF. This effect was much weaker in the presence of NGF. [3H]-noradrenaline release was reduced by nifedipine, suggesting an important role for L-Ca2+ channels in neurotransmitter release. Total high voltage Ca2+ currents were significantly increased in ELF MF-treated cells with NGF, but these currents in ELF MF-treated cells were more sensitive to nifedipine. Amperometric analysis of catecholamine release revealed that the KCl-induced activity of cells stimulated to differentiate by ELF MF is highly sensitive to L-type Ca2+ channel blockers. A possible mechanism to explain the way in which the application of magnetic fields can induce differentation of chromaffin cells into neuronal-like cells is proposed.

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