The present study investigated, using in vitro experiments on human lymphocytes, whether exposure to a microwave frequency used for mobile communication, either unmodulated or in presence of phase only modulation, can cause modification of cell proliferation kinetics and/or genotoxic effects, by evaluating the cytokinesis block proliferation index and the micronucleus frequency. In the GSM 1800 mobile communication systems the field is both phase (Gaussian minimum shift keying, GMSK) and amplitude (time domain multiple access, TDMA) modulated. The present study investigated only the effects of phase modulation, and no amplitude modulation was applied. Human peripheral blood cultures were exposed to 1.748 GHz, either continuous wave (CW) or phase only modulated wave (GMSK), for 15 min. The maximum specific absorption rate (approximately 5 W/kg) was higher than that occurring in the head of mobile phone users; however, no changes were found in cell proliferation kinetics after exposure to either CW or GMSK fields. As far as genotoxicity is concerned, the micronucleus frequency result was not affected by CW exposure; however, a statistically significant micronucleus effect was found following exposure to phase modulated field. These results would suggest a genotoxic power of the phase modulation per se.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.