Exposure of rat brain to 915 MHz GSM microwaves induces changes in gene expression but not double stranded DNA breaks or effects on chromatin conformation

Bioelectromagnetics. 2006 May;27(4):295-306. doi: 10.1002/bem.20216.


We investigated whether exposure of rat brain to microwaves (MWs) of global system for mobile communication (GSM) induces DNA breaks, changes in chromatin conformation and in gene expression. An exposure installation was used based on a test mobile phone employing a GSM signal at 915 MHz, all standard modulations included, output power level in pulses 2 W, specific absorption rate (SAR) 0.4 mW/g. Rats were exposed or sham exposed to MWs during 2 h. After exposure, cell suspensions were prepared from brain samples, as well as from spleen and thymus. For analysis of gene expression patterns, total RNA was extracted from cerebellum. Changes in chromatin conformation, which are indicative of stress response and genotoxic effects, were measured by the method of anomalous viscosity time dependencies (AVTD). DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Effects of MW exposure were observed on neither conformation of chromatin nor DNA DSBs. Gene expression profiles were obtained by Affymetrix U34 GeneChips representing 8800 rat genes and analyzed with the Affymetrix Microarray Suite (MAS) 5.0 software. In cerebellum from all exposed animals, 11 genes were upregulated in a range of 1.34-2.74 fold and one gene was downregulated 0.48-fold (P < .0025). The induced genes encode proteins with diverse functions including neurotransmitter regulation, blood-brain barrier (BBB), and melatonin production. The data shows that GSM MWs at 915 MHz did not induce PFGE-detectable DNA double stranded breaks or changes in chromatin conformation, but affected expression of genes in rat brain cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain / radiation effects*
  • Chromatin / chemistry
  • Chromatin / radiation effects*
  • DNA / radiation effects*
  • DNA Damage*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Gene Expression / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Microwaves*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344


  • Chromatin
  • DNA