The effects of electromagnetic fields on the number of ovarian primordial follicles: An experimental study
Bakacak M, Bostancı MS, Attar R, Yıldırım ÖK, Yıldırım G, Bakacak Z, Sayar H, Han A.The effects of electromagnetic fields on the number of ovarian primordial follicles: An experimental study. Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2015 Jun;31(6):287-92. doi: 10.1016/j.kjms.2015.03.004. Epub 2015 Apr 30.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of an electromagnetic field (EMF), generated close to the ovaries, on primordial follicles.
A total of 16 rats were used in this study. The study group consisted of rats exposed to an EMF in the abdominal region for 15 min/d for 15 days. Both the study and control group were composed of eight rats. After the treatment period of 15 days, the ovaries of the rats were extracted, and sections of ovarian tissue were taken for histological evaluation. The independent samples t test was used to compare the two groups.
In the study group, the means of the right and left ovarian follicle numbers were 34.00 ± 10.20 and 36.00 ± 10.53, respectively. The average total ovarian follicle number was 70.00 ± 19.03. In the control group, the means of the right and left ovarian follicle numbers were 78.50 ± 25.98 and 71.75 ± 29.66, respectively, and the average total ovarian follicle number was 150.25 ± 49.53. The comparisons of the means of the right and left ovarian follicle numbers and the means of the total ovarian follicle numbers between the study and control groups indicated that the study group had significantly fewer follicles (p < 0.001, p = 0.011, and p = 0.002, respectively).
This study found a significant decrease in the number of ovarian follicles in rats exposed to an EMF. Further clinical studies are needed to reveal the effects of EMFs on ovarian reserve and infertility.
An exposure device with a special antenna was used for generating the EMF (5 W peak output power and 1.04 mW/cm2 power density), and the exposure emission was maintained at 900 MHz with a pulse repetition frequency of 217 Hz (Fig. 2). An animal experiment license is required to perform animal EMF exposure experiments in an unshielded environment at the frequencies used in this study, with the condition that performing the experiments in that unshielded environment will not cause any disruption to wireless communication. Therefore, the experiments were conducted in a Radio Frequency (RF)-shielded room and the devices were operated with an attenuation of 100 dB, which conforms to RF emission limits. The specific energy absorption rate (SAR) varied from 0.018 W/kg to 4 W/kg for the entire body. Thus, the heat effect generated by the device on the tissue was considered negligible.
In conclusion, the exposure of humans to EMFs is increasing with the widespread use of technologies, such as mobile phones and wireless communication. The nonstandardization of EMF variables in previous studies has led to conflicting results. In the current study, a significant decrease in the number of ovarian follicles in rats exposed to EMFs was observed. Further clinical studies are needed to reveal the effect of EMFs on ovarian reserve and infertility.
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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