Background: Earlier we have shown that the mobile phone radiation (radiofrequency modulated electromagnetic fields; RF-EMF) alters protein expression in human endothelial cell line. This does not mean that similar response will take place in human body exposed to this radiation. Therefore, in this pilot human volunteer study, using proteomics approach, we have examined whether a local exposure of human skin to RF-EMF will cause changes in protein expression in living people.
Results: Small area of forearm's skin in 10 female volunteers was exposed to RF-EMF (specific absorption rate SAR = 1.3 W/kg) and punch biopsies were collected from exposed and non-exposed areas of skin. Proteins extracted from biopsies were separated using 2-DE and protein expression changes were analyzed using PDQuest software. Analysis has identified 8 proteins that were statistically significantly affected (Anova and Wilcoxon tests). Two of the proteins were present in all 10 volunteers. This suggests that protein expression in human skin might be affected by the exposure to RF-EMF. The number of affected proteins was similar to the number of affected proteins observed in our earlier in vitro studies.
Conclusion: This is the first study showing that molecular level changes might take place in human volunteers in response to exposure to RF-EMF. Our study confirms that proteomics screening approach can identify protein targets of RF-EMF in human volunteers.