Sambucci M, Laudisi F, Nasta F, Pinto R, Lodato R, Altavista P, Lovisolo GA, Marino C, Pioli C. 2010. Prenatal exposure to non-ionizing radiation: Effects of WiFi signals on pregnancy outcome, peripheral B-cell compartment and antibody production. Radiation Research 174: 732-740.
During embryogenesis, the development of tissues, organs and systems, including the immune system, is particularly susceptible to the effects of noxious agents. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to very intense electromagnetic fields (EMFs) may have teratogenic effects due to a prolonged increase in body temperature. These effects have also been described for the frequencies that are being used for WiFi signals.
The objective of this study was to determine the effects of prenatal (in utero) exposure to WiFi signals on pregnancy outcome and the immune B-cell compartment in mice.
A total of 16 mated female mice were assigned to each of the following groups: 1)cage control, 2)sham-exposed, and 3)microwave-exposed. Exposure consisted of whole-body exposure to WiFi signals at 2.45 GHz with a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 4 W/kg for 2 hours per day, over 14 consecutive days starting 5 days after mating. No effects due to exposure to WiFi signals during pregnancy on mating success, number of newborns per mother, or body weight at birth were found. Newborn mice were left to grow until 5 or 26 weeks of age at which time spleens were collected and dissociated to obtain B-cells. Flow cytometry analysis and measurement of antibody production, antibody titration, and cell proliferation were performed.
At both 5 and 26 weeks of age, no differences in the number of spleen cells exposed to microwaves were observed in either male or female offspring. A statistically significant difference was observed between the male offspring of sham-exposed and microwave-exposed mothers and those of the cage control group at both 5 and 26 weeks of age. At 5 weeks of age a statistically significant difference in IgM and IgG serum levels was observed in females from restrained mothers (either sham-exposed or microwave-exposed) and the cage control group, and a significant difference in IgG serum levels was observed at 26 weeks of age. However, when B-cells of the three groups were challenged in vitro with lipopolysaccharide, a polyclonal activator of bacterial origin, no differences due to microwave exposure were found. No changes in B-cell proliferation were observed in the offspring at 5 or 26 weeks of age.
Interpretation and Limitations
The results of this study do not show any effect on pregnancy outcome or any early or late effects on B-cell differentiation and function due to prenatal exposure to WiFi signals. This supports the results of previous work that demonstrated no effects of radiofrequency EMFs (900 MHz) on B-cell function and differentiation in spleen and bone marrow. However, some limitations of this study are that differences in several parameters were observed in mice of different ages and sexes. The authors attribute these effects to stress as well as age- and/or sex-related differences. Future studies should attempt to better control for factors such as stress that may impact results.
This study suggests that in mice, prenatal exposure to WiFi signals have no effect on pregnancy outcome or B-cell differentiation and function.