Can 50 Hz magnetic fields alter iron metabolism and induce anaemia?

Int J Radiat Biol. 2000 Dec;76(12):1669-76. doi: 10.1080/09553000050201163.


PURPOSE. Some changes in tissue iron concentration have been reported in animals exposed to electromagnetic fields. In other studies, variations in the haemoglobin level were occasionally observed. In the present experiment, the effects of exposing a rat to a 50 Hz magnetic field (MF) were therefore investigated for the possible induction of anaemia due to changes in iron metabolism.

Materials and methods: Male Brown Norway rats (n=225) were exposed to a sinusoidal 50 Hz MF of 500 microT for 15 weeks. Haematological parameters, differential bone marrow cell counts and sideroblasts were investigated. Blood parameters of iron metabolism were measured. Iron concentration and total iron content were also determined in the spleen and liver, to assess iron storage in these organs.

Results: Significant differences between the exposed and control rat were only detected for iron storage in the spleen, and for the percentage of bone marrow cells of the red cell lineage.

Conclusion: The changes observed were not associated with anaemia during the 15 weeks of MF exposure. However, the decrease in bone marrow cells of the red cell lineage and the changes in iron storage detected at the end of the experiment did not allow the possibility to be ruled out that exposure to 50 Hz MFs may induced delayed biological effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / etiology*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / radiation effects
  • Bone Marrow / radiation effects
  • Iron / blood*
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Leukocytes / radiation effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Magnetics*
  • Male
  • Organ Size / radiation effects
  • Rats
  • Spleen / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Iron