Sakai H, Horiguchi N, Endoh D, Nakayama K, Hayashi M. Radiofrequency Radiation at 40 kHz Induces Hepatic Injury in Long-Evans Cinnamon (LEC) Rats, an Animal Model for Human Wilson Disease. J Vet Med Sci. Oct 13, 2010. Ahead of print.
Human individuals are continuously exposed to radiofrequency (RF) radiation due to the constant use of many of the available man-made electronic devices such as mobile phones, microwave ovens, medical equipment, etc. To date, the effect of RF radiation as a health hazard on the normal population remains controversial. However, this research group hypothesized that vulnerable groups within the population are more susceptible to RF radiation effects. Patients with Wilsons’ disease, an inheritable disease where copper is not properly eliminated from the body, could be highly susceptible to RF radiation. This research group investigates the effect of RF radiation on the liver of normal and health compromised rats.
This study examined the effects of RF radiation (40 kHz) on liver injury in rats. Two types of rats were used in this investigation; normal rats and rats that have a defect in their normal copper metabolism. The second type of rat was considered to be an animal model for Wilsons’ disease, a human inheritable disease where copper metabolism is compromised and these rats experience severe jaundice by 4 months of age.
Two different types of rats were used in this experiment. One type of rat was considered to be healthy with no known problems and the second group of rats had a defect in their copper metabolism (LEC rats). Each type of rat was divided into three separate experimental groups. The first group was exposed to 40 kHz of RF radiation (3 W/kg) for 20 min/day for 7 consecutive days. The second group was exposed to 40 kHz of RF radiation (3 W/kg) for 20 min/day for 14 consecutive days. The third group was placed in the same exposure apparatus for the same period of time, but not exposed to radiation (sham-exposed). The liver, kidney, and serum were obtained from each rat, and the health of the organs and copper accumulation were measured using different techniques.
The researchers found no significant differences in organ health or copper accumulation in normal rats that were exposed to RF radiation. However, they did see a significant difference between sham-exposed LEC rats and LEC rats exposed to RF radiation for 2 weeks. Liver health was compromised and elevated copper levels were found in the serum and kidneys of these rats. LEC rats that had been exposed to only one week of radiation had the same copper levels and organ health as the LEC sham-exposed rats.
Interpretation and Limitations
This study demonstrated that although normal rats were not visibly affected by RF radiation, LEC rats that had health complications were. The researchers feel that RF radiation safety levels should be different for patients with Wilsons’ disease compared to RF radiation safety levels for the general public.
This study showed that long-term RF radiation at 40 kHz induces hepatic injury in a susceptible population of rats.