About the biological effects of high and extremely high frequency electromagnetic fields

Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg. 2003;27(2-3):89-100.


This paper deals with the effects of high (microwave) and extremely high (millimetre waves, MMW) frequency electromagnetic fields on the membrane processes and ion channels, molecular complexes, excitable and other structures. Microwaves as well as millimetre waves are widely used in medical practice and in everyday life. The existence of interaction between the exogenous and endogenous electromagnetic fields with biological systems is now a subject of intense discussion. The most contentious question is the existence of a possible specific (non-thermal) effect of microwaves, unrelated to that caused by increased temperature. Although numerous data have been published on the possible non-thermal effects of the studied electromagnetic fields on different kinds of living systems, only little understanding is gained about the modes of microwave action. Here we review data, which provide evidence that non-thermal microwave effects do exist and may play a significant role. This evidence is based on research at all biological levels, from cell-free systems through cells, tissues and organs, to animal and human organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / radiation effects
  • Microwaves / adverse effects*
  • Microwaves / therapeutic use
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques


  • Ion Channels