Introduction: Mobile phones have become indispensable in the daily lives of men and women around the globe. As cell phone use has become more widespread, concerns have mounted regarding the potentially harmful effects of RF-EMR from these devices.
Objective: The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of RF-EMR from mobile phones on free radical metabolism and sperm quality.
Materials and methods: Male albino Wistar rats (10-12 weeks old) were exposed to RF-EMR from an active GSM (0.9/1.8 GHz) mobile phone for 1 hour continuously per day for 28 days. Controls were exposed to a mobile phone without a battery for the same period. The phone was kept in a cage with a wooden bottom in order to address concerns that the effects of exposure to the phone could be due to heat emitted by the phone rather than to RF-EMR alone. Animals were sacrificed 24 hours after the last exposure and tissues of interest were harvested.
Results: One hour of exposure to the phone did not significantly change facial temperature in either group of rats. No significant difference was observed in total sperm count between controls and RF-EMR exposed groups. However, rats exposed to RF-EMR exhibited a significantly reduced percentage of motile sperm. Moreover, RF-EMR exposure resulted in a significant increase in lipid peroxidation and low GSH content in the testis and epididymis.
Conclusion: Given the results of the present study, we speculate that RF-EMR from mobile phones negatively affects semen quality and may impair male fertility.
Keywords: Electromagnetic radiation; Mobile phone; Oxidative Stress; Rats; Sperm motility.