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New Study - Reproduction and Electromagnetic Field Exposure

New Study - Reproduction and Electromagnetic Field Exposure

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Published by EMFsafety
Gye MC, Park CJ. (2012). Effect of electromagnetic field exposure on the reproductive system. Clin Exp Reprod Med. 2012 Mar;39(1):1-9. Epub 2012 Mar 31. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341445/pdf/cerm-39-1.pdf
Gye MC, Park CJ. (2012). Effect of electromagnetic field exposure on the reproductive system. Clin Exp Reprod Med. 2012 Mar;39(1):1-9. Epub 2012 Mar 31. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341445/pdf/cerm-39-1.pdf

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Published by: EMFsafety on Jun 01, 2012
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5653/cerm.2012.39.1.1pISSN 2233-8233
eISSN 2233-8241Clin Exp Reprod Med 2012;39(1):1-9
Eect o electromagnetic feld exposure on thereproductive system
Myung Chan Gye, Chan Jin Park 
Department of Life Science and Institute for Natural Sciences, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea
The safety of human exposure to an ever-increasing number and diversity of electromagnetic eld (EMF) sources both at work and at homehas become a public health issue. To date, many
in vivo
in vitro
studies have revealed that EMF exposure can alter cellular homeostasis, en-docrine function, reproductive function, and fetal development in animal systems. Reproductive parameters reported to be altered by EMF ex-posure include male germ cell death, the estrous cycle, reproductive endocrine hormones, reproductive organ weights, sperm motility, earlyembryonic development, and pregnancy success. At the cellular level, an increase in free radicals and [Ca
]i may mediate the eect of EMFsand lead to cell growth inhibition, protein misfolding, and DNA breaks. The eect of EMF exposure on reproductive function diers accordingto frequency and wave, strength (energy), and duration of exposure. In the present review, the eects of EMFs on reproductive function aresummarized according to the types of EMF, wave type, strength, and duration of exposure at cellular and organism levels.
Electromagnetic eld; Reproduction
Humans in modern society are exposed to an ever-increasing num-ber of electromagnetic elds (EMFs) generated from the productionand supply of electricity, television (TV) sets, personal computer (PC),radio communication, and mobile communication. Since the 1960s,when the biological hazard of EMF exposure was studied in the Sovi-et Union, the safety of humans exposed to EMFs both at home andduring occupational activities has become an important issue in pub-lic health. The biological eect of EMFs is currently under debate andstill a controversial issue. In the present review, the eects of EMFs onreproductive function are summarized according to the types of EMFsand duration of exposure at the cellular and organism levels.
Types of EMF and frequency of exposure
Humans in modern society are exposed to various kinds of EMFs.Extremely low frequency (ELF)-EMFs have 3 to 30 Hz frequencies andare generated from military communication. The EMFs to which hu-mans are most frequently exposed are the 50 to 60 Hz super low fre-quency (SLF) EMFs generated from power cables for industrial andhousehold electrical supplies and electronic goods. Very low frequen-cy (VLF) EMFs with 3 to 30 kHz frequency are generated from PC mon-itors or TV sets. EMFs from TVs or PCs have a 6.25 μT intensity with a20 kHz frequency [1]. The radio frequency (RF) EMFs generated frommobile phones, cordless phones, and broadcasting towers have fre-quencies of hundreds of MHz. All these EMFs are non-ionizing radia-tion, which do not have energy to release electrons from orbit. EMFshave a wave character in short frequency and act as a magnetic eldin long frequency. The strength of the electric eld and magnetic eldis measured in units of kV/m and μT, respectively. Household elec-tronic goods can produce a 4 μT EMF and EMF ranges from 0.01 to 1μT inside and outside of house [2]. The strength of SLF-EMFs is de-pendent on the electrical current and distance from the conductor.Therefore, SLF-EMFs are the highest near the power cable and de-
Received: Feb 7, 2012 ∙ Revised: Mar 8, 2012 ∙ Accepted: Mar 15, 2012Corresponding author:
Myung Chan Gye
Department of Life Science, College of Natural Sciences, Hanyang University,222 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul 133-791, Korea Tel: +82-2-2220-0958 Fax: +82-2-2298-9646 E-mail: mcgye@hanyang.ac.kr
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms o the Creative Commons AttributionNon-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permitsunrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided theoriginal work is properly cited.
Clin Exp Reprod Med 2012;39(1):1-9
crease rapidly by distance.
Cellular mechanism for EMF induced toxicity
At the cellular level, an increase in free radicals and [Ca
]i may me-diate the effect of EMFs and lead to cell growth inhibition, proteinmisfolding, and DNA breaks. EMFs can disrupt Ca
-dependent cellsignaling. How does EL-EMF exposure aect signal transduction incells? In human leukemia T-cell line Jurkat cells, a 50 Hz, 0.5 mT EMFwas found to increase Ca
levels, blocking the eect of cholera toxinand the protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein [3]. In thymic lym-phocytes, Ca
inux increased during mitogen-activated signal trans-duction when exposed to a 60 Hz, 22 mT EMF [4], suggesting themodulating role of EMF on regulation of Ca
channels. RF EMFs of 900 and 872 MHz may enhance chemically induced reactive oxygenspecies (ROS) production, resulting in secondary DNA damage in hu-man SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells [5,6]. Also
in vivo
experiments re-vealed the increased oxidative stress caused by a 900 MHz EMF, lead-ing to endometrial histopathologic impairment in rats [7]. In prostatecancer cells, ROS induced by a 60 Hz sinusoidal EMF inhibited cellgrowth by apoptosis and arrested the cell cycle [8]. An RF EMF of 2,450MHz exposure caused rearrangement of DNA segments and break-age of DNA in testes [9]. In another report, 1,800 MHz of EMF inducedDNA breaks in human broblasts and rat granulosa cells in comet as-say [10]. Similarly, an RF-EMF of 1,800 MHz induced DNA damage inChinese hamster lung cells [11]. In addition, an RF EMF of 900 MHzand 1.7 GHz induced DNA breakage in cauda epididymal spermato-zoa and embryonic stem cells in mice [12,13]. Some investigatorshave reported changes in protein folding by EMF. Changes in thestructural uctuation of tuna myoglobin protein was induced by EMFat the mobile phone frequency of 1.95 MHz, indicating RF EMFs as apotential risk for protein misfolding [14]. Heat-shock proteins (HSPs)were also increased by EMF exposure. In human endothelial cell lineEA.hy926, HSP27 was activated by 900 MHz GSM non-thermal expo-sure [15]. HSP70 is induced by exposure to SLF (<300 Hz) EMFs [16].Interestingly, HSP70 has non-thermal (EMF domain) and thermal(temperature domain) stress response promoter binding sites [17,18],suggesting that HSP70 is highly sensitive for EMF. In hepatocellularcarcinoma, cell proliferation was inhibited with mitotic spindle dis-ruption by a 27.12 MHz of RF EMF [19]. EMFs have been suggested asa cancer treatment tool with gamma irradiation. When a human breastcancer xenograft was treated with EMF and gamma irradiation at thesame time, inhibitory eects on growth, angiogenesis, and metasta-sis were higher than in xenografts treated with gamma irradiationalone [20] (Figure 1).
Figure 1.
Summary of the eects of electromagnetic elds at the cellular level. EMF, electromagnetic eld; N, nucleus; ER, endoplasmic reticu-lum; M, mitochondria.
inux increase(leukemia T-cell, 50 Hz)(T-lymphocytes, 60 Hz)Cell growth inhibition(cancer cell, 60 Hz)Cell proliferation inhibition(cancer cell, 27.12 MHz)DNA break (900 MHz, 1.7, 1.8, 2.45 GHz)Oxidative stress(900 MHz)ROS generation(872, 900 MHz)Protein misfolding(1.95 MHz)Ca
channelHSP70 induction (<300 Hz)HSP27 induction (900 MHz)
T  r  l  N  t  r  l  
MC Gye and CH Park Electromagnetic feld exposure and reproduction
Human diseases related to EMF exposure
Alterations in biomarkers following EMF exposure have been report-ed through
in vitro
in vivo
experiments using animal cells and ani-mals, respectively. Most of what is known on the correlation betweenhuman health and EMF exposure has been drawn from epidemiologi-cal studies. The results on the hazards of EMF exposure are contradic-tory, leaving the conclusion unclear to date [21-23]. Currently, the bio-logical hazard of EMF exposure is understood to be dierent accord-ing to frequency, type of wave, and strength (energy) of the EMF. Im-portantly, some people are very sensitive to certain types of EMFs. Theeect of EMF exposure could be dierent at various toxicological end-point levels according to the route and duration of EMF exposure andtarget human subjects. Therefore, the possible body or cellular func-tions susceptible for EMF exposure should be suggested according tothe type of frequency, wave, and strength of EMF, and the safety guide-lines for EMF exposure should be made according to this criteria.Possible human diseases related with EMF exposure obtained fromepidemiological studies include the life threatening diseases such asleukemia in children and adults [24,25], brain cancer in adults [26],Lou Gehrig’s disease [27], depression [28], suicide [29], and Alzheim-er’s’ disease [30]. Recently, EMFs were reported to cause DNA dam-age and neurological diseases at much lower levels than those pro-scribed by international safety guidelines. Most recently, the Bioini-tiative Report (http://www.bioinitiative.org/) has noted that the cur-rent safety guidelines for EMF exposure are not sucient and shouldbe revised based on data from various toxicological tests [31].
Changes in the reproductive endocrine systemby EMF exposure
There are many studies on the casual relationship between SLF-EMF exposure and pineal gland function [32]. Although still underdebate, EMF exposure can aect the secreting activity of the pinealgland in several animal species as does the light. Indeed, static expo-sure to SLF-EMFs can aect cyclic secretions of melatonin in severalspecies [33]. In Long-Evans rats exposed to a circularly polarized 50Hz EMF for 6 weeks, the pineal and circulating melatonin levels de-creased [34]. In cows, a 60 Hz EMF exposure for 4 weeks (16 hoursper day) altered circulating melatonin and prolactin levels and theestrous cycle [35,36]. In an adult Djungarian hamster, a 60 Hz EMFexposure acutely aected the pineal and circulating melatonin levels[37]. SLF-EMF exposure directly aects the pineal gland, deteriorat-ing the biological eect of melatonin [38]. Melatonin regulates thepulse of LHRH in the hypothalamus, inuencing gonadotropin FSHand LH. Eventually, this can alter the production of gonadal sex ste-roids, resulting in changes in the reproductive cycle [39,40]. In cows,exposure to 60 Hz SLF-EMF at 30 μT for 24-27 days did not alter theprogesterone levels but shortened the estrous stage [41]. RF-EMF ex-posure can aect ACTH, GH, TSH, FSH, and LH in the pituitary [42].Most EMF-induced hormonal changes are mediated by the thermaleect of EMFs. In contrast, long-term exposure to RF-EMFs did nothave a cumulative eect on the endocrine, serological, or immuno-logical parameters [43].
Reproductive toxicity of EMF in females
Reproductive toxicity of EMF exposure has been studied in bothsexes at various endpoints [44]. Undoubtedly, reproduction is undercontrol of the nervous system and endocrine system. In female mice,neuroendocrinological alteration was believed to be a prime causeof loss of fertility with aging [45,46]. In female mice exposed to a 20kHz saw tooth EMF generated from a TV set or PC for 6 weeks afterweaning, the estrous cycle was extended [47]. In cows, similarly, a 60Hz, 30 μT EMF 16 hours per day extended the estrous cycle [35]. Be-cause extension of the estrous cycle can decrease total ovulation op-portunities in females during their fertile period of life, decrease infecundity can be expected. In mouse follicle cultures, exposure to a33 Hz SLF-EMF at 5-day intervals resulted in defects in follicle growth.In contrast, the follicles exposed to a 50 Hz EMF continued growth.33 Hz or 50 Hz SLF-EMF exposure for 3 days inhibited the antrum for-mation of follicles cultured
in vitro
[48]. Together, the estrous cycleregulated by ovarian steroids might be much more sensitive to EMFexposure than the fetal development and feto-maternal interaction.In contrast, in female rats a 10 kHz, 0.2 mT sine wave EMF does notaect the estrous cycle [1], suggesting that the eect of EMFs on theestrous cycle diers according to the frequency, energy, and animalspecies. In adult Wistar female rats exposed continuously to a 50 HzSLF-EMF for 3 months, the weights of the uterus and ovaries, proges-terone levels, and estrogen levels in relation to the varying periods of the estrous cycle were not signicantly altered [49].When ovariectomized female Sprague-Dawley rats were exposedto a 1,439 MHz time division multiple access (TDMA) EMF for 4 hoursper day for 3 days, there were no dierences in uterine wet mass orserum estradiol level, suggesting no estrogenic activity related tohigh frequency EMFs used in cellular phones [50]. When female ratswere exposed to a 900 MHz EMF for 30 min/day for 30 days, endo-metrial apoptosis and oxidative stress were increased [51]. Also, as an
in vivo
experiment, increased oxidative stress by a 900 MHz EMF ledto the endometrial histopathologic impairment in rats [7].
Reproductive toxicity of EMFs in males
A code division multiple access (CDMA) EMF of 848.5 MHz has no

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