de Gannes FP, Taxile M, Duleu S, Hurtier A, Haro E, Geffard M, Ruffié G, Billaudel B, Lévêque P, Dufour P, Lagroye I, Veyret B. 2009. A Confirmation Study of Russian and Ukrainian Data on Effects of 2450 MHz Microwave Exposure on Immunological Processes and Teratology in Rats. Rad Resear 172(5):617-624.
Between 1974 and 1986, a series of Russian and Ukrainian papers showed that exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation had pronounced effects on the autoimmune response of mice and had teratogenic effects on mice embryos. These studies were used in part to set the exposure thresholds in the former USSR.
This study aimed to confirm the results of these previous studies using modern methods. Experiments were carried out in parallel in France and Russia using a common protocol that was as close as possible to the original one. The results of the Russian work are published separately.
Sixteen male rats were either exposed or sham-exposed for 7 hours/day, 5 days/week, for a total of 30 days at a power level of 5 W/m2. The animals were free to move around in their individual plastic cages during exposure or sham-exposure. An additional 16 male rats served as controls. Seven and 14 days after the last exposure session, 5 and 11 rats per group, respectively, were killed humanely, their blood was collected, and the presence of 16 antibodies in their brains was assessed. The teratology experiment consisted of injecting serum from sham-exposed or exposed rats (obtained 14 days after the end of exposure) into female rats (20 per group) on the 10th day of pregnancy. A third group of 20 female rats served as a control. All females were observed daily for signs of toxicity. One day before the expected delivery date, 5 rats from each group were killed humanely, and the embryos and fetuses were examined. The remaining females were allowed to deliver and their pups were monitored until weaning for body weight, clinical signs, physical and functional development.
Using computer simulations, the whole-body SAR was 0.16 ±0.04 W/kg at a power of 5 W/m2. The brain-averaged SAR was 0.16 ±0.09 W/kg. All estimated SARs were below 1 W/kg in tissues and organs. There was no significant difference between exposed and sham-exposed rats in the levels of 16 antibodies used to measure autoimmune function. No mortality or signs of toxicity were seen in the female rats treated with the sera of exposed or sham-exposed rats. Compared to the control group, no significant differences in the number or abnormalities of fetuses were observed. Similarly, no significant differences were seen in the pups born from females who had received sera and the pups born from control females. The pup parameters examined were: pup number and external abnormalities, sex ratio, mean body weight of litter, viability index, clinical signs, physical and functional development.
Interpretation and Limitations
The present study found values of SAR lower than that found by the previous Soviet authors (0.6 W/kg), who reportedly used a similar power density of about 5 W/m2. The immunology and teratology results in the present study were negative, in contrast to the results of the earlier Soviet studies. The Soviet study used a non-specific test for antibodies, whereas the authors of the present study tested for 16 specific antibodies. This may in part explain the discrepant results.
The present study found that exposure to RF radiation under the experimental conditions had no impact on a number of immune, degenerative, and teratological endpoints.