Sonmez OF, Odaci E, Bas O, Kaplan S. Purkinje cell number decreases in the adult female rat cerebellum following exposure to 900MHz electromagnetic field. Brain Res. Aug 4, 2010. Ahead of print.
There is a controversy regarding potential adverse health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted by mobile phones on the central nervous system. It has been shown that females, including teenagers, use mobile phones more and talk longer than males. Therefore, their brain may be more exposed to EMFs than brain of males.
The objective was to study the possible effects of exposure to 900 MHz EMF on the number of Purkinje cells in the cerebellum of 16-week old female rats. The developmental stage of the brain of a 16-week old rat is comparable to that of a teenage human.
Female Wistar albino rats were randomly assigned to one of three groups: the EMF exposed group (n=6), the sham-exposed group (n=6) and the control group (n=5). The rats in the EMF group were exposed to 900 MHz EMFs in an exposure tube 1 hr/day for 28 days. The specific absorption rate (SAR) ranged from 0.016 W/kg (whole body) to 2 W/kg (brain average SAR). The sham-exposed rats were placed in the exposure tube but were not exposed to EMFs. The control rats stayed in their cages. At the end of the experiment, the rats were sacrificed; the cerebella were dissected, processed and cut by a rotary microtome into 30 µm sections. The sections were collected on slides and stained for histological analysis. The number of Purkinje cells was estimated using a stereological counting technique.
There was no significant difference between the sham-exposed and the control rats in the number of Purkinje cells. The number of Purkinje cells in the cerebella of EMF exposed rats was significantly lower than that in the control rats and in the sham-exposed rats. The loss of Purkinje cells was also seen at histological examination on the slides from the EMF exposed rats.
Interpretation and Conclusion
Results from other studies suggest that exposure to EMFs emitted by mobile phones may affect brain morphology. This is the first study that shows a cell loss in the female rat cerebellum after exposure to 900 MHz EMFs for 28 days.