Ye J, Yao K, Zeng Q, Lu D (2002):
The authors' aim was to study the effects of microwave radiation on gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) in the epithelial cells of the lens of rabbits. GJIC refers to the direct exchange of ions and other small molecules that can occur between neighbouring cells. Transmission occurs by diffusion through channels that join two adjacent cells. The channels are formed by the docking of two hemi-channels, constructed from proteins called connexins.
Sixteen rabbits were used, eight for each of two experiments. In the first, GJIC was determined by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP). In the second, The amount of connexin 43, a protein in the epithelial cells, was estimated by immunostaining. In both experiments four rabbits were exposed for 3 hours to 5 mW/cm² microwave radiation at 2450 MHz frequency, and four to 10 mW/cm². One eye, which served as the control, was shielded by copper grid cloth. The rabbits were sacrificed directly after exposure, and the eyes were removed and prepared for the FRAP and immunostaining procedures.
The FRAP of controls was 78.9% at the end of 14 minutes scanning, while it was 44.9% in the 5 mW/cm² irradiated group, and 17.0% in the 10 mW/cm² group. A decrease in connexin 43 positive staining was seen in the irradiated animals.
The authors conclude that the changes result in an osmotic imbalance within the lens and induce early cataract formation.