Non-thermal cellular effects of lowpower microwave radiation on the lens and lens epithelial cells

J Int Med Res. May-Jun 2010;38(3):729-36. doi: 10.1177/147323001003800301.

Abstract

Because of the increased use of modern radiofrequency devices, public concern about the possible health effects of exposure to microwave radiation has arisen in many countries. It is well established that high-power microwave radiation can induce cataracts via its thermal effects. It remains unclear whether low-power microwave radiation, especially at levels below the current exposure limits, is cataractogenic. This review summarizes studies on the biological effects of low-power microwave radiation on lens and lens epithelial cells (LECs). It has been reported that exposure affects lens transparency, alters cell proliferation and apoptosis, inhibits gap junctional intercellular communication, and induces genetic instability and stress responses in LECs. These results raise the question of whether the ambient microwave environment can induce non-thermal effects in the lens and whether such effects have potential health consequences. Further in vivo studies on the effects on the lens of exposure to low-power microwave radiation are needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / radiation effects
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Cell Proliferation / radiation effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA Damage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Epithelial Cells / radiation effects*
  • Gap Junctions / radiation effects
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lens, Crystalline / metabolism
  • Lens, Crystalline / pathology
  • Lens, Crystalline / radiation effects*
  • Microwaves / adverse effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Rabbits
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / etiology*
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / metabolism
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / pathology