Exposure to a 900 MHz electromagnetic field for one hour a day over 30 days does change the histopathology and biochemistry of the rat testis
Odacı E, Özyılmaz C. Exposure to a 900 MHz electromagnetic field for one hour a day over 30 days does change the histopathology and biochemistry of the rat testis. Int J Radiat Biol. 2015 Mar 19:1-20. [Epub ahead of print]
PURPOSE: This study investigated the effect of exposure to a 900-megahertz (MHz) electromagnetic field (EMF) on the rat testicle.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-four adult male rats were divided into control, sham and EMF groups. The EMF group rats were exposed to 900-MHz EMF (1 h / 30 day), and testicles were extracted at the end of the experiment. Malondialdehyde, superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione levels and apoptotic index and histopathological damage scores were compared.
RESULTS: Histopathologically, EMF group rats exhibited vacuoles in seminiferous tubules basal membrane and edema in the intertubular space. Seminiferous tubule diameters and germinal epithelium thickness were both smaller, and apoptotic index was higher, in the EMF group than in the other groups. Malondialdehyde, superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione values in the EMF group decreased significantly compared to those of the control group.
CONCLUSIONS: The results show that exposure to 900-MHz EMF causes alterations in adult rat testicular morphology and biochemistry.
The same system was employed as described in our previous studies in order to expose EMFG rats to EMF (Baş et al., 2013; Hancı et al., 2013; İkinci et
al., 2013; Odacı et al., 2013; 2014; Topal et al., 2014; Türedi et al., 2014) ... with an output power of approximately 300 mW and a frequency adjusted to 900-MHz. The oscillator was used to establish a 900-MHz EMF similar to the frequency of a mobile phone.
... On the basis of measurements taken every day throughout the study with the jar empty, positional mean EMF intensity was 6.4 V/m beneath the jar and 11.5 V/m inside it. The figures with rats inside the jar were 4.2 V/m beneath the jar and 14 V/m inside it (Table 1). The whole-body specific absorption rate (SAR) was calculated at 0.025 W/kg (RadHaz SAR Equivalency Calculator Version 1.0, ©2000 Richard Tell Associates, Inc, Mesquite, USA). According to these measurements, rats were exposed to a mean electrical field intensity of 10 V/m inside the jar (0.265 W/m2). This value is regarded as equivalent to the intensity of EMF that mobile phones in speak mode can create in their immediate surroundings (mean 1–10 V/m for variables i.e. mobile phone model, distance from base station). These values are the limit values set out for a single source in the GSM-900 base station systems (Baş et al., 2013; Hancı et al., 2013;
İkinci et al., 2013; Odacı et al., 2013; 2014; Topal et al., 2014; Türedi et al., 2014).
Several studies have reported that EMF leads to interruption of spermatogenesis, impairment of sperm quality, degeneration of germinal epithelium cells, impaired testosterone levels, infertility, premature birth in rats and a decrease in testicular biopsy scores (Li et al., 2010; Dasdag et al., 1999; Al-Akhras et al., 2001; Svedenstal and Johanson, 1995; Ozguner et al., 2005; Mailankot et al., 2009; Kumar et al., 2013). In contrast, however, other studies have reported that EMF has no effect on male fertility or else that the effect of EMF depends on intensity, length of exposure, wavelength and distance from EMF (Margonato et al., 1995; Cecconi et al., 2000; Dasdag et al., 2003; Kim et al., 2006; Çelik et al., 2012; Gye and Park, 2012).
Exposure to 900 MHz caused some damage in the testicular seminiferous tubule in this study. Analysis revealed irregularities, vacuoles and occasional dehiscence in the seminiferous tubular epithelium of the EMFG and germinal epithelial cells in the lumen of the seminiferous tubule.These findings suggest that the spermatogenic cycle in the epithelium of the seminiferous tubule was compromised in the EMFG. Previous studies on the subject have reported that injury occurring in the epithelium of the seminiferous tubule may compromise the spermatogenic cycle (Al-Damegh 2012).
On the basis of all these studies and our own findings we think that long-term exposure to EMF causes pathological changes in testicular tissue and that these may have irreversible consequences. We employed an EMF of 900 MHz. That was because GSM-900, one of the cellular communications systems widely used in Europe, has an operating frequency of 880-960 MHz. For that reason, we exposed rats to 900 MHz EMF, within the GSM-900 operating range. We used a fixed EMF frequency in this study, the purpose of which was to investigate the effect on the rat testis of exposure to 900 MHz EMF for 1 hour a day over 30 days. In conclusion, exposure of adult rats to 900 MHz EMF for 1 hour a day over 30 days led to injury in testicular tissues and compromised testicular morphology and biochemical markers.
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
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