Combined effects of traffic and electromagnetic fields on the immune system of fertile atopic women

Ind Health. 2000 Jul;38(3):294-300. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.38.294.


Object of this preliminary study was the immune response to high or low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELMF) of non-atopic and atopic fertile women with uniform exposure to toxic compounds produced by traffic. Women were divided in group A (non-atopic, non-exposed to ELMF); B (atopic, non-exposed to ELMF); C (non-atopic, exposed to ELMF); D (atopic, exposed to ELMF). "In vitro" cell proliferation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of atopic women (groups B and D) stimulated by phytohaemoglutinin (PHA) was reduced. The ELMF exposed women (groups C and D) showed lower levels of blood NK CD16(+)-CD56+ lymphocyte subpopulations and of "in vitro" production of interferon-gamma (both spontaneously and in presence of PHA) by PBMC, suggesting that ELMF reduces blood cytotoxic activity. Serum IgE of the atopic women exposed to ELMF (group D) was higher than that of the other groups. Linear discriminant analysis including serum zinc and copper (essential enzymes for immune functions), blood lead and urinary transtrans muconic acid, a metabolite of benzene (markers of exposure to traffic) and key parameters of immune functions (CD16(+)-CD56+ lymphocyte subset, serum IgE, interferon-gamma produced by PBMC in presence of PHA, stimulation index of blastogenesis) showed absence of significant difference between groups A and C and a marked separation of groups B and D. This datum suggests that ELMF have a greater influence on atopic women exposed to traffic than on non-atopic ones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibody Formation*
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Humans
  • Metals, Heavy / adverse effects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Urban Population
  • Vehicle Emissions / adverse effects*


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Vehicle Emissions