Background: There are few cell studies on the direct genotoxic effects of microwave radiation. In this study, cytogenetic effects of microwave radiation alone or in combination with mitomycin C (MMC) were investigated.
Materials and methods: Lymphocytes from two smoking and four non-smoking donors were exposed for 53 hours in vitro to 1.0 W/m(2) continuous-wave radiation at 18.0 GHz or 10 W/m(2) pulsed-wave at 16.5 GHz, alone or in combination with MMC. DNA synthesis and repair were inhibited in vitro in some cultures.
Results: No synergistic effect was observed in cells exposed to combinations of microwave radiation and in vitro exposure to MMC, or to cells pre-exposed in vivo to tobacco smoke. For the 16.5 GHz pulsed exposure, a non-significant trend consisting of an increase in aberration frequencies with microwave radiation was shown for the DNA synthesis and repair inhibited cultures both with and without MMC.
Conclusion: Neither 18.0 GHz continuous-wave nor 16.5 GHz pulsed-wave exposure to human lymphocytes in vitro induced statistically significant increases in chromosomal aberration frequencies. 16.5 GHz pulsed-wave exposure requires further documentation before a true negative conclusion can be drawn.