Zareen N, Khan MY, Minhas LA. (2009): Derangement of chick embryo retinal differentiation caused by radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Congenit Anom (Kyoto). 49(1):15-9.
Research into the possible health hazards of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMFs) provides conflicting results. Biological electrical activities of the human body are vulnerable to interference from oscillatory aspects of EMFs, which can potentially affect fundamental cellular activities, in particular, the highly active development process of embryos.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of EMF emitted by a mobile phone (MP) on the developmental histomorphology of the nervous tissue, selecting the retina of chicken embryo as the study object.
A total of 120 fertilized chicken eggs were used in the experiment. Randomly selected subjects were placed into two main groups: control (A), and experimental (B), comprising 60 eggs each. Both groups were subdivided into two subgroups (A1 and A2, and B1 and B2), comprising 30 eggs each, based on the day of sacrifice at 10 or 15 post-incubation days, respectively. Experimental eggs were exposed to 1800 MHz frequency electromagnetic waves from a MP. The MP was rung from another line or wireless phone system for 15 minutes, twice daily. It was set on silent, non-vibratory mode to exclude all other influences on the developing embryos. After exposure for the scheduled duration, the retinas of the embryos were dissected out and processed for histological examination. The control and experimental embryos were compared for retinal thickness and epithelial pigmentation grade recorded as “mild”, “moderate” or “intense”.
The mean retinal sickness of experimental subgroup B1 irradiated for 10 days (137.30±4.31 mm) was significantly less than in the control subgroup A1 (P<0.05). The mean retinal thickness of the 15-day treated group B2 (177.74±8.82 mm) was significantly (P<0.001) greater than in the control A2 group. Whereas both control subgroups (10 and 15 days) showed moderate epithelial pigmentation, EMF exposed embryos exhibited different responses depending on the number of days of exposure. The 10-day subgroup demonstrated predominantly mild pigmentation, and the 15-day subgroup – intense pigmentation.
Interpretation and Conclusion
It can be concluded that RF EMF exposure at first retarded the normal pace of retinal growth and differentiation as witnessed by the reduced retinal sickness and pigmentation in chicken embryos exposed for 10 post-incubation days. When continued for a longer duration (15 days), RF EMF exposure may activate compensatory mechanisms (such as the stress protein defense mechanism) which cause growth enhancement and shift the epithelial pigmentation grade from hypo- to hyper pigmentation.