Effects of PEMF on a murine osteosarcoma cell line: drug-resistant (P-glycoprotein-positive) and non-resistant cells

Bioelectromagnetics. 2000 Feb;21(2):112-21. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1521-186x(200002)21:2<112::aid-bem6>3.0.co;2-h.


After pulsed exposure of Dunn osteosarcoma cells (nonresistant cells) to Adriamycin (ADR) at increasing concentrations and single-cell cloning of surviving cells, ADR-resistant cells were obtained. These resistant cells expressed P-glycoprotein and had resistance more than 10 times that of their nonresistant parent cells. Compared to the nonresistant cells not exposed to pulsing electromagnetic fields (PEMF) in ADR-free medium, their growth rates at ADR concentrations of 0.01 and 0.02 micrograms/ml, which were below IC50, were 83.0% and 61.8%, respectively. On the other hand, in the nonresistant cells exposed to PEMF (repetition frequency, 10 Hz; rise time, 25 microsec, peak magnetic field intensity, 0.4-0.8 mT), the growth rate was 111.9% in ADR-free medium, 95.5% at an ADR concentration of 0.01 micrograms/ml, and 92.2% at an ADR concentration of 0.02 micrograms/ml. This promotion of growth by PEMF is considered to be a result of mobilization of cells in the non-proliferative period of the cell cycle due to exposure to PEMF. However, at ADR concentrations above the IC50, the growth rate tended to decrease in the cells not exposed to PEMF. This may be caused by an increase in cells sensitive to ADR resulting from mobilization of cells in the non-proliferative period to the cell cycle. The growth rate in the resistant cells exposed to PEMF was significantly lower than that in the non-exposed resistant cells at all ADR concentrations, including ADR-free culture (P</=0.0114). Therefore, this study suggests that PEMF promotes the growth of undifferentiated cells but progressively suppresses the growth of more differentiated cells, i.e., PEMF controls cell growth depending on the degree of cell differentiation. This study also shows the potentiality of PEMF as an adjunctive treatment method for malignant tumors.

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Division / radiation effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Doxorubicin / toxicity*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple*
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Doxorubicin