Background: The mobile phones emitting 900-MHz electromagnetic radiation (EMR) may be mainly absorbed by kidneys because they are often carried in belts. Melatonin, the chief secretory product of the pineal gland, was recently found to be a potent free radical scavenger and antioxidant. The aim of this study was to examine 900-MHz mobile phone-induced oxidative stress that promotes production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on renal tubular damage and the role of melatonin on kidney tissue against possible oxidative damage in rats.
Methods: The animals were randomly grouped as follows: 1) sham-operated control group and 2) study groups: i) 900-MHz EMR exposed (30 min/day for 10 days) group and ii) 900-MHz EMR exposed+melatonin (100 microg kg(-1) s.c. before the daily EMR exposure) treated group. Malondialdehyde (MDA), an index of lipid peroxidation), and urine N-acetyl-beta-d-glucosaminidase (NAG), a marker of renal tubular damage were used as markers of oxidative stress-induced renal impairment. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities were studied to evaluate the changes of antioxidant status.
Results: In the EMR-exposed group, while tissue MDA and urine NAG levels increased, SOD, CAT, and GSH-Px activities were reduced. Melatonin treatment reversed these effects as well. In this study, the increase in MDA levels of renal tissue and in urine NAG and also the decrease in renal SOD, CAT, GSH-Px activities demonstrated the role of oxidative mechanism induced by 900-MHz mobile phone exposure, and melatonin, via its free radical scavenging and antioxidant properties, ameliorated oxidative tissue injury in rat kidney.
Conclusions: These results show that melatonin may exhibit a protective effect on mobile phone-induced renal impairment in rats.