Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (MF) and the endocrine-disrupting compound atrazine, each separately, on the thyroid gland of juvenile-peripubertal rats, and to investigate the possible synergistic effect of these two factors combined.
Materials and methods: The study was performed on male Wistar rats from postnatal day 23-53. Animals were divided into six groups: (1) 4 h/day exposure to MF (50 Hz, 100-300 μT, 54-160 V/m), (2) 20 mg/kg of body weight (bw) of atrazine, (3) 200 mg/kg bw of atrazine, (4) MF with 20 mg/kg bw of atrazine (5) MF with 200 mg/kg bw of atrazine, and (6) control.
Results: Light and electron microscopic studies demonstrated no significant alterations in the thyroid structure between the treated groups and the control. Significant outcomes were found regarding the volume density of thyroid follicles and the connective tissue between the MF-exposed group when compared to both atrazine treatments and the combined treatments. The high dose of atrazine significantly affected the number of mast cells compared to the control.
Conclusions: No synergistic effect of the MF and the endocrine-disrupting compound atrazine on the thyroid gland has been found. The specific histological alterations of the thyroid parenchyma observed in some treated groups require further investigation.