Radiofrequency radiation and gene/protein expression: a review

Radiat Res. 2009 Sep;172(3):265-87. doi: 10.1667/RR1726.1.


Mobile telecommunications have developed considerably in recent years. With the proliferation of wireless technologies, there is much public anxiety about the potential health impact associated with exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation from these novel products. Contradictory scientific evidence, often reported in the popular media, has further fueled public concern. Some epidemiological studies have reported that ipsilateral use of a mobile phone is associated with an increased risk for brain tumors, while other studies have reported an association between brain tumor risk and mobile phone use for longer than 10 years. However, other large epidemiological studies have failed to find similar associations. Despite the existence of national and international RF-radiation exposure guidelines, there are increasing public demands for precaution with respect to human exposure to RF radiation. Since current epidemiological evidence is insufficient to make a definitive judgment on the health risks of low-level RF radiation exposure, laboratory evidence assessing biological plausibility and theoretical mechanisms of interaction are important. A number of studies have reported that RF radiation may induce alterations in gene/protein expression in a variety of cells/tissues that may be associated with potentially harmful health outcomes, while other studies have shown no clear effects related to RF radiation. This review focuses on the current scientific evidence related to changes in protein and gene expression induced by low-level RF radiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation / radiation effects*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Tolerance / physiology*
  • Radiation Tolerance / radiation effects
  • Radio Waves
  • Signal Transduction / radiation effects*


  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins