Extremely low frequency pulsed electromagnetic field designed for antinociception does not affect microvascular responsiveness to the vasodilator acetylcholine

Bioelectromagnetics. 2010 Jan;31(1):64-76. doi: 10.1002/bem.20533.


A 225 microT, extremely low frequency, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) that was designed for the induction of antinociception, was tested for its effectiveness to influence blood flow within the skeletal microvasculature of a male Sprague-Dawley rat model (n = 103). Acetylcholine (0.1, 1.0, or 10 mM) was used to perturb normal blood flow and to delineate differential effects of the PEMF, based on degree of vessel dilation. After both 30 and 60 min of PEMF exposure, we report no effects on peak perfusion response to acetylcholine (with only 0.2% of the group difference attributed to exposure). Spectral analysis of blood flow data was generated to obtain information related to myogenic activity (0.15-0.40 Hz), respiratory rate (0.4-2.0 Hz), and heart rate (2.0-7.0 Hz), including the peak frequency within each of the three frequency regions identified above, peak power, full width at half maximum (FWHM), and mean within band. No significant effects due to exposure were observed on myogenic activity of examined blood vessels, or on heart rate parameters. Anesthesia-induced respiratory depression was, however, significantly reduced following PEMF exposure compared to shams (although exposure only accounted for 9.4% of the group difference). This set of data suggest that there are no significant acute physiological effects of 225 microT PEMF after 30 and 60 min of exposure on peak blood flow, heart rate, and myogenic activity, but perhaps a small attenuation effect on anesthetic-induced respiratory depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology*
  • Anesthetics / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / drug effects
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Bone and Bones / blood supply
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / physiology
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart / physiology
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Magnetic Field Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Microvessels / drug effects*
  • Microvessels / physiology*
  • Pain Management
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Regional Blood Flow / drug effects
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Respiration / drug effects
  • Time Factors
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology*


  • Anesthetics
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Acetylcholine