Mailankot, M. Kunnath, A. P. Jayalekshmi, H. Koduru, B. and Valsalan, R. Radio frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) from GSM (0.9/1.8GHz) mobile phones induces oxidative stress and reduces sperm motility in rats. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2009; 64(6):561-5.
Although a possible role of radiofrequency fields (RF) exposure from mobile phones in male infertility has been suggested in recent epidemiological studies, the potential mechanism of action is unclear.
The objective was to study the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) emitted from a mobile phone on free radical metabolism and sperm quality.
The experiments were conducted on 10-12 week old male albino Wistar rats. Six animals were exposed to RF-EMR from a GSM (0.9/1.8 GHz) mobile phone for 1 hour a day for 28 days. Six animals exposed to a mobile phone without a battery for the same time period were used as controls. Facial temperatures were measured during the experiment. The animals were sacrificed 24 hours after the last exposure and the tissues of interest (testis and epididymis) were examined. Total sperm and motile sperm counts were determined. Oxidative stress was assessed by measuring concentration of reduced glutathione (GSH), a free radical scavenger, and endogenous malondialdehyde (MDA) as an index of lipid peroxidation (LPO).
Facial temperatures did not change by more than 0.1 degree after exposure in either group, and there were no significant differences in the facial temperature between the groups. There was no significant difference between the exposed and the control animals in the total sperm count (p=0.052), but the percent of motile sperm was significantly lower in the exposed animals (»43%) than in the controls (»72%) (p<0.002). A significant depletion of intracellular glutathione and an increase in the endogenous malondialdehyde levels were observed in the exposed animals compared to the controls.
Interpretation and Conclusion
It has been shown that oxidative stress can cause male infertility and reactive oxygen species (ROS) cause infertility mainly by affecting sperm motility. The depletion of glutathione in the RF exposed animals in these experiments supports the author’s hypothesis that elevated ROS is responsible for reduction in the percentage of motile sperm. The authors conclude that their findings suggest negative effects of RF-EMR from mobile phones on semen quality and male fertility.