The immune response of women with prolonged exposure to electromagnetic fields produced by radiotelevision broadcasting stations

Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2006 Oct-Dec;19(4 Suppl):43-8.


Twelve women, five of them housewives, exposed in their residences to electromagnetic fields (EMFs)emitted by radio-television broadcasting stations for a mean period of 13 years, were investigated. The EMFs in the balconies of the homes were (mean + S.D.) 4.3 + 1.4 V/m in the year 2000 and 3.7 + 1.3 V/m in 2005, while the exposure in the nearby area was <2.0 V/m. The EMF exposed women showed in 2000 reduced blood NK lymphocytes as well as PHA stimulated PBMC proliferation and IL-2 and IFN-gamma release. In the year 2005, the EMF exposed women and 48 control women with similar ages(mean 43 years), smoking habits, atopy and social level were investigated. State (temporary) and trait(tendency of the personality) anxiety were determined by STAI I and II, respectively. Blood cytotoxic activity and lymphocyte subsets were also determined. The ratio STAI I/STAI II of the EMF exposed group was lower than that of the control group. The blood cytotoxic activity of the exposed women was lower (p<0.01), percent of B CD45+-CD19+ lymphocytes higher and percent of CD45+-CD3+-CD8+ cells lower (p<0.05). Moreover, cytotoxic activity/CD45+-CD16+-56+ NK lymphocytes of the controls was negatively correlated with STAI I and STAI II (p<0.001). In conclusion, this study demonstrates reduced blood cytotoxic activity and increased trait anxiety in relation to state anxiety in EMF exposed women. An effect of EMFs on immune functions, in part mediated by nervous mechanisms, may be hypothesized. However, the influence of lifestyle may not be excluded.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic / radiation effects
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity / radiation effects*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / radiation effects
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Middle Aged
  • Radio*
  • Television*