Yan JG, Agresti M, Zhang LL, Yan Y, Matloub HS. (2009). Qualitative effect on mRNAs of injury-associated proteins by cell phone like radiation in rat facial nerves. Electromagn Biol Med. 28(4):383-90.
Studies on health effects of exposure to “cell phone like radiation” provide conflicting results. Findings concerning cancer and other diseases are inconclusive. When subtler changes are studied, the results generally show some effect from the exposure. To the authors’ knowledge, there had been no publications on peripheral nerve exposure to cell phone like radiation.
The aim of the study was to find out if cell phone like radiation causes injuries to the mandibular and buccal branches of the facial nerve, the branches that are close to the microwave source. The authors looked at mRNA of several proteins that are usually up-regulated after cellular injury.
The mRNA levels of 4 proteins were investigated: Calcium ATP-ase, Endothelin, Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule (NCAM), and Neural Growth Factor (NGF). A total of 12 three-month old male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 2 equal groups. One group was exposed to radiation from a cell phone for 6 hours a day (3-hour exposure, 30-minute rest and 3-hour re-exposure) for 18 weeks. The rats in the other group were placed in the identical holding units and were sham-exposed for the same amount of time. The mRNAs were analyzed by RT-PCR.
In the mandibular branch of the facial nerve, the 4 proteins were up-regulated after the 18-week exposure: mRNA levels of these proteins were significantly higher in the exposed than in the control animals. In the buccal branch, all 4 proteins were up-regulated, but the difference in mRNA level between the exposed and the control animals was significant only for Calcium ATPase and NGF.
Interpretation and Conclusion
The authors believe that the observed up-regulations in the exposed group are indicative of injuries to the nerve tissue. The authors hypothesized that “prolonged exposure to these phones over several years will keep causing these types of injuries and recovery will be incomplete. At some point these might overwhelm the body and secondary problems will arise. These problems, most likely, will be far worse and could include tumours, cancers, or system failures.”