Purpose: Several studies have reported that radiofrequency (RF) fields, as emitted by mobile phones, may cause changes in gene expression in cultured human cell-lines. The current study was undertaken to evaluate this possibility in two human-derived immune cell-lines.
Materials and methods: HL-60 and Mono-Mac-6 (MM6) cells were individually exposed to intermittent (5 min on, 10 min off) 1.9 GHz pulse-modulated RF fields at a average specific absorption rate (SAR) of 1 and 10 W/kg at 37 +/- 0.5 degrees C for 6 h. Concurrent negative and positive (heat-shock for 1 h at 43 degrees C) controls were conducted with each experiment. Immediately following RF field exposure (T = 6 h) and 18 h post-exposure (T = 24 h), cell pellets were collected from each of the culture dishes and analyzed for transcript levels of proto-oncogenes (c-jun, c-myc and c-fos) and the stress-related genes (heat shock proteins (HSP) HSP27 and HSP70B) by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
Results: No significant effects were observed in mRNA expression of HSP27, HSP70, c-jun, c-myc or c-fos between the sham and RF-exposed groups, in either of the two cell-lines. However, the positive (heat-shock) control group displayed a significant elevation in the expression of HSP27, HSP70, c-fos and c-jun in both cell-lines at T = 6 and 24 h, relative to the sham and negative control groups.
Conclusion: This study found no evidence that exposure of cells to non-thermalizing levels of 1.9 GHz pulse-modulated RF fields can cause any detectable change in stress-related gene expression.