2-GHz band CW and W-CDMA modulated radiofrequency fields have no significant effect on cell proliferation and gene expression profile in human cells

J Radiat Res. 2010;51(3):277-84. doi: 10.1269/jrr.09126. Epub 2010 Mar 9.


We investigated the mechanisms by which radiofrequency (RF) fields exert their activity, and the changes in both cell proliferation and the gene expression profile in the human cell lines, A172 (glioblastoma), H4 (neuroglioma), and IMR-90 (fibroblasts from normal fetal lung) following exposure to 2.1425 GHz continuous wave (CW) and Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) RF fields at three field levels. During the incubation phase, cells were exposed at the specific absorption rates (SARs) of 80, 250, or 800 mW/kg with both CW and W-CDMA RF fields for up to 96 h. Heat shock treatment was used as the positive control. No significant differences in cell growth or viability were observed between any test group exposed to W-CDMA or CW radiation and the sham-exposed negative controls. Using the Affymetrix Human Genome Array, only a very small (< 1%) number of available genes (ca. 16,000 to 19,000) exhibited altered expression in each experiment. The results confirm that low-level exposure to 2.1425 GHz CW and W-CDMA RF fields for up to 96 h did not act as an acute cytotoxicant in either cell proliferation or the gene expression profile. These results suggest that RF exposure up to the limit of whole-body average SAR levels as specified in the ICNIRP guidelines is unlikely to elicit a general stress response in the tested cell lines under these conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Phone*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival
  • Disease Progression
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Genome, Human
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Microwaves
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis*
  • Radio Waves*
  • Time Factors


  • Heat-Shock Proteins