Bourthoumieu S, Terro F, Leveque P, Collin A, Joubert V, Yardin C. Aneuploidy studies in human cells exposed in vitro to GSM-900 MHz radiofrequency radiation using FISH. Int. J. Radiat. Biol. Ahead of print. Jan 19, 2011.
The use of mobile telephones is widespread and constantly increasing and the question of whether microwaves may be genotoxic or carcinogenic is debated. Previous research has found an increase in the rate of aneuploidies in human lymphocytes exposed to radiofrequencies.
The objective of this study was to investigate whether exposure to RF (radiofrequency) radiation similar to that emitted by mobile phones induces aneuploidy in cultured human cells.
Human amniotic cells were exposed in vitro to Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) 900 MHz radiofrequency radiation with average-specific absorption rates (SAR) of 0.25, 1, 2 and 4W/kg for 24h. Exposures were carried out in a wire-patch cell (WPC) with a temperature range of 36.3–39.78C. A sham exposure was also conducted to act as a control. The rate of aneuploidy of chromosomes 11 and 17 was determined by interphase Fluorescence In Situ Hybridisation (FISH) immediately after independent exposure of cells from three different donors. At least 100 interphase cells were analysed per assay.
No significant increase in the rate of aneuploidy was observed following exposure for 24 h to SAR ranging from 0.25–4 W/kg as compared to sham-exposed cells.
Interpretation and Limitations
Increases in rates of aneuploidy could be evidence of the induction of genomic instability involved in cancer process. In the present study, the rates of aneuploidy of two chromosomes (11 and 17) that contain important genes involved in tumorigenesis were determined using FISH. Exposure to GSM-900 MHz for 24 h at different levels of SAR did not significantly increase the rates. These results differ with those of previous studies using other cell types that found increases in aneuploidy resulting from RF exposure. The main limitations of this study are that it was conducted using a different cell type than previous studies and that the results are difficult to extrapolate to in vivo.
The results of this study conflict with those of previous studies as it did not demonstrate in vitro aneuploidogenic effect of GSM.