Induction of adaptive response in human blood lymphocytes exposed to radiofrequency radiation

Radiat Res. 2009 Jun;171(6):735-42. doi: 10.1667/RR1687.1.


The incidence of micronuclei was evaluated to assess the induction of an adaptive response to non-ionizing radiofrequency (RF) radiation in peripheral blood lymphocytes collected from five different human volunteers. After stimulation with phytohemagglutinin for 24 h, the cells were exposed to an adaptive dose of 900 MHz RF radiation used for mobile communications (at a peak specific absorption rate of 10 W/kg) for 20 h and then challenged with a single genotoxic dose of mitomycin C (100 ng/ml) at 48 h. Lymphocytes were collected at 72 h to examine the frequency of micronuclei in cytokinesis-blocked binucleated cells. Cells collected from four donors exhibited the induction of adaptive response (i.e., responders). Lymphocytes that were pre-exposed to 900 MHz RF radiation had a significantly decreased incidence of micronuclei induced by the challenge dose of mitomycin C compared to those that were not pre-exposed to 900 MHz RF radiation. These preliminary results suggested that the adaptive response can be induced in cells exposed to non-ionizing radiation. A similar phenomenon has been reported in cells as well as in animals exposed to ionizing radiation in several earlier studies. However, induction of adaptive response was not observed in the remaining donor (i.e., non-responder). The incidence of micronuclei induced by the challenge dose of mitomycin C was not significantly different between the cells that were pre-exposed and unexposed to 900 MHz RF radiation. Thus the overall data indicated the existence of heterogeneity in the induction of an adaptive response between individuals exposed to RF radiation and showed that the less time-consuming micronucleus assay can be used to determine whether an individual is a responder or non-responder.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Micronuclei, Chromosome-Defective / radiation effects*
  • Mitomycin / pharmacology
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Radio Waves*
  • Young Adult


  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Mitomycin