Microwave exposure induces Hsp70 and confers protection against hypoxia in chick embryos

J Cell Biochem. 2002;86(3):490-6. doi: 10.1002/jcb.10243.


To determine if microwave exposure could elicit a biological effect in the absence of thermal stress, studies were designed in which chick embryos were exposed to athermal microwave radiation (915 MHz) to look for induction of Hsp70, a protein produced during times of cellular stress that aids in the protection of cellular components. Levels of Hsp70 were found to increase within 2 h, with maximum expression ( approximately 30% higher than controls) typically occurring by 3 h from the start of exposure. Other embryos were exposed to microwave radiation prior to being subjected to hypoxic stress, and were found to have significantly higher survival (P < 0.05) following re-oxygenation than non-exposed controls. The results of these studies indicate that not only can athermal microwave exposures activate the stress protein response pathway; they can also enhance survivability following exposure to a subsequent, potentially lethal stress. From a public health standpoint, it is important that more studies be performed to determine if repeated exposures, a condition likely to be found in cell phone use, are still beneficial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / radiation effects
  • Animals
  • Chick Embryo / metabolism
  • Chick Embryo / radiation effects
  • Cytoprotection / radiation effects
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / radiation effects*
  • Hypoxia / metabolism*
  • Microwaves*
  • Stress, Physiological / metabolism
  • Survival Analysis
  • Temperature


  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins