Microwave exposure affecting reproductive system in male rats

Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2010 Sep;162(2):416-28. doi: 10.1007/s12010-009-8722-9. Epub 2009 Sep 19.


The object of present study is to investigate the effects of 50 GHz microwave frequency electromagnetic fields on reproductive system of male rats. Male rats of Wistar strain were used in the study. Animals 60 days old were divided into two groups--group I sham exposed and group II experimental (microwave exposed). During exposure, rats were confined in Plexiglas cages with drilled ventilation holes for 2 h a day for 45 days continuously at a specified specific absorption rate of 8.0 x 10(-4) W/kg. After the last exposure, the rats were sacrificed immediately and sperms were collected. Antioxidant enzyme (superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and catalase), histone kinase, apoptosis, and cell cycle were analyzed in sperm cells. Result shows a significant decrease in the level of sperm GPx and SOD activity (p < or = 0.05), whereas catalase shows significant increase in exposed group of sperm samples as compared with control (p < 0.02). We observed a statistically significant decrease in mean activity of histone kinase as compared to the control (p < 0.016). The percentage of cells dividing in a spermatogenesis was estimated by analyzing DNA per cell by flow cytometry. The percentage of apoptosis in electromagnetic field exposed group shows increased ratio as compared to sham exposed (p < 0.004). There were no significant differences in the G(0)/G(1) phase; however, a significant decrease (p < 0.026) in S phase was obtained. Results also indicate a decrease in percentage of G(2)/M transition phase of cell cycle in exposed group as compared to sham exposed (p < 0.019). We conclude that these radiations may have a significant effect on reproductive system of male rats, which may be an indication of male infertility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microwaves*
  • Protamine Kinase / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reproduction
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Spermatozoa / cytology
  • Spermatozoa / enzymology
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Protamine Kinase