Exposure of rats to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) alters cytokines production.
Electromagn Biol Med. 2013 Mar ;32(1):1-8. Epub 2012 Oct 9. PMID: 23046051
Investigations indicate a potential link between exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) and some cancers. Carcinogenesis of ELF-EMF may be mediated by effect on the immune system. During an immune response, naïve T cells differentiate to effector type 1 helper T cells (T(H)1), T(H)2, or T(H)17 subsets according to existence of different cytokines and T(H)1 is important in defense against tumors. Therefore, it will be reasonable to test whether ELF-EMF can change cytokines like interferon gamma (IFN-γ),interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-6, and IL-12 that regulate T(H)1/T(H)2/T(H)17 balance. Forty adult male rats were randomly separated into ELF-EMF-exposed and sham-exposed control groups. The ELF-EMF group was exposed to a flux density of 100 μT, frequency 50 Hz, 2 h/day for 3 months. The controls wereplaced in identical chamber without ELF-EMF. The results showed there were no significant differences between the mean mass of rats, thymuses, and spleens in ELF-EMF exposed group compared with controls. Serum IL-12 level was decreased from 418 ± 47 pg/ml in controls to 300 ± 23 pg/ml (p < 0.05) in ELF-EMF-exposed group. Phytohemagglutinin activated of in vitro production of IL-6 by the whole spleen culture (1356 ± 92 pg/ml) and total blood culture (418 ± 40 pg/ml) of ELF-EMF-exposed rats were higher (p < 0.001) comparing with controls (905 ± 74 pg/ml), (182 ± 26 pg/ml), respectively. However, the levels of IFN-γ, IL-4, and IL-6 of serum and IFN-γ, IL-4, and IL-12 in spleen culture and total blood culture of two groups were not significantly different. It seems that ELF-EMF may change T(H)1/T(H)2/T(H)17 balance toward down regulation of T(H)1 and upregulation T(H)17 type responses.