The acute effects of microwave exposure from the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) were studied in rats, using 900MHz radiation at an intensity similar to mobile phone emissions. Acute subconvulsive doses of picrotoxin were then administered to the rats and an experimental model of seizure-proneness was created from the data. Seventy-two adult male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent immunochemical testing of relevant anatomical areas to measure induction of the c-fos neuronal marker after 90min and 24h, and of the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) 72h after acute exposure to a 900MHz electromagnetic field (EMF). The experimental set-up facilitated measurement of absorbed power, from which the average specific absorption rate was calculated using the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) 2h after exposure to EMF radiation at 1.45W/kg in picrotoxin-treated rats and 1.38W/kg in untreated rats. Ninety minutes after radiation high levels of c-fos expression were recorded in the neocortex and paleocortex along with low hippocampus activation in picrotoxin treated animals. Most brain areas, except the limbic cortical region, showed important increases in neuronal activation 24h after picrotoxin and radiation. Three days after picrotoxin treatment, radiation effects were still apparent in the neocortex, dentate gyrus and CA3, but a significant decrease in activity was noted in the piriform and entorhinal cortex. During this time, glial reactivity increased with every seizure in irradiated, picrotoxin-treated brain regions. Our results reveal that c-fos and glial markers were triggered by the combined stress of non-thermal irradiation and the toxic effect of picrotoxin on cerebral tissues.
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