Schrader T, Kleine-Ostmann T, Müter K, Jastrow C, Schmid E. Spindle Disturbances in Human-Hamster Hybrid (AL) Cells Induced by the Electrical Component of the Mobile Communication Frequency Range Signal. Bioelectromagnetics. PMID 21181906, online publication, 2010.
The propagation of life requires cells to divide on a regular basis. Cell division is a complicated process and exposure to electromagnetic radiofrequencies (EMFs) through the every day use of microwave ovens, wireless networks, and cellular phones may affect a cell’s ability to divide properly. Aberrant cell division could be a precursor to diseased or cancerous cells. Research studies have already shown that cell division is sensitive to EMF exposure. However it is poorly understood which component of the EMF exposure causes these negative effects, the electric (E) or magnetic (H) field. This paper investigates and compares the effect that electric versus magnetic exposures have on dividing cells.
The objective of this study was to investigate whether the electric or magnetic or both components of EMF exposure are associated with defects in cell division.
The cells used in this study were a human-hamster hybrid cell. Five different experimental conditions of EMF were set up for the cells and exposure time was 30 min for all groups: A) Positive control where cells were exposed to 90 V/m EMF, B) Positive control where cells were exposed to 45 V/m EMF, C) Cells exposed to 90 V/m electric field only D) Cells exposed to 0.239 A/m magnetic field only, E) Positive control where cells were exposed to 90 V/m digitally modulated EMF, and F) Cells that went through all the procedures but were not exposed to any EMF (sham exposed). This experiment was repeated three times, twice at 20- 22oC and a third time at 37oC. The cells were then fixed on a slide, stained and the integrity of dividing cells was measured.
Cell division was compromised from exposure to the electric field. Cells exposed to the magnetic field remained the same as control cells.
Interpretation and Limitations
When cells divide into two, the chromosomes line up in a structured format along components that consist of electric dipolar charges. It makes sense that these components would become disrupted when subjected to an electric field. However, the authors did not find any gross abnormalities in the chromosomes themselves, which is often indicative of a diseased cell. Further and longer term studies are required to investigate the affects of electrical fields on chromosome structure.
This study demonstrated that the electric component of EMF exposure affects dividing cells.