50 Hz extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields enhance protein carbonyl groups content in cancer cells: effects on proteasomal systems

J Biomed Biotechnol. 2009;2009:834239. doi: 10.1155/2009/834239. Epub 2009 Aug 5.


Electromagnetic fields are an assessed cause of prolonging free radicals lifespan. This study was carried out to investigate the influence of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on protein oxidation and on the 20S proteasome functionality, the complex responsible for the degradation of oxidized proteins. Caco 2 cells were exposed, for 24-72 hours, to 1 mT, 50 Hz electromagnetic fields. The treatment induced a time-dependent increase both in cell growth and in protein oxidation, more evident in the presence of TPA, while no changes in cell viability were detected. Exposing the cells to 50 Hz electromagnetic fields caused a global activation of the 20S proteasome catalytic components, particularly evident at 72 hours exposure and in the presence of TPA. The finding that EGCG, a natural antioxidant compound, counteracted the field-related pro-oxidant effects demonstrates that the increased proteasome activity was due to an enhancement in intracellular free radicals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Carcinogens / pharmacology
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27 / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / radiation effects*
  • Protein Carbonylation / radiation effects*
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Temperature
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology


  • Carcinogens
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate