Effects of static magnetic fields at the cellular level

Prog Biophys Mol Biol. Feb-Apr 2005;87(2-3):213-23. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2004.08.008.


There have been few studies on the effects of static magnetic fields at the cellular level, compared to those of extremely low frequency magnetic fields. Past studies have shown that a static magnetic field alone does not have a lethal effect on the basic properties of cell growth and survival under normal culture conditions, regardless of the magnetic density. Most but not all studies have also suggested that a static magnetic field has no effect on changes in cell growth rate. It has also been shown that cell cycle distribution is not influenced by extremely strong static magnetic fields (up to a maximum of 10 T). A further area of interest is whether static magnetic fields cause DNA damage, which can be evaluated by determination of the frequency of micronucleus formation. The presence or absence of such micronuclei can confirm whether a particular treatment damages cellular DNA. This method has been used to confirm that a static magnetic field alone has no such effect. However, the frequency of micronucleus formation increases significantly when certain treatments (e.g., X-irradiation) are given prior to exposure to a 10 T static magnetic field. It has also been reported that treatment with trace amounts of ferrous ions in the cell culture medium and exposure to a static magnetic field increases DNA damage, which is detected using the comet assay. In addition, many studies have found a strong magnetic field that can induce orientation phenomena in cell culture.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Cycle / radiation effects*
  • Cell Division / radiation effects*
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Comet Assay
  • DNA Damage / radiation effects*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / radiation effects
  • Magnetics / adverse effects*
  • Micronuclei, Chromosome-Defective / radiation effects*
  • Mutation / radiation effects
  • Rats
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured