We recently reported that continuous exposure, for 8 weeks, of extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic field (MF) of 0.1 or 0.5 mT might induce testicular germ cell apoptosis in BALB/c mice. In that report, the ELF MF exposure did not significantly affect the body weight or testicular weight, but significantly increased the incidence of testicular germ cell death. In the present study, we aimed to further characterize the effect of a 16-week continuous exposure to ELF MF of 14 or 200 microT on testicular germ cell apoptosis in mice. There were no significant effects of MF on body weight and testosterone levels in mice. In TUNEL staining (In situ terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxy-UTP nick end labeling), germ cells showed a significantly higher apoptotic rate in exposed mice than in sham controls (P < 0.001). TUNEL-positive cells were mainly spermatogonia. In an electron microscopic study, degenerating spermatogonia showed condensation of nuclear chromatin similar to apoptosis. These results indicate that apoptosis may be induced in spermatogenic cells in mice by continuous exposure to 60 Hz MF of 14 microT.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.