Whole-genome expression analysis in primary human keratinocyte cell cultures exposed to 60 GHz radiation

Bioelectromagnetics. 2012 Feb;33(2):147-58. doi: 10.1002/bem.20693. Epub 2011 Aug 3.


The main purpose of this study is to investigate potential responses of skin cells to millimeter wave (MMW) radiation increasingly used in the wireless technologies. Primary human skin cells were exposed for 1, 6, or 24 h to 60.4 GHz with an average incident power density of 1.8 mW/cm(2) and an average specific absorption rate of 42.4 W/kg. A large-scale analysis was performed to determine whether these exposures could affect the gene expression. Gene expression microarrays containing over 41,000 unique human transcript probe sets were used, and data obtained for sham and exposed cells were compared. No significant difference in gene expression was observed when gene expression values were subjected to a stringent statistical analysis such as the Benjamini-Hochberg procedure. However, when a t-test was employed to analyze microarray data, 130 transcripts were found to be potentially modulated after exposure. To further quantitatively analyze these preselected transcripts, real-time PCR was performed on 24 genes with the best combination of high fold change and low P-value. Five of them, namely CRIP2, PLXND1, PTX3, SERPINF1, and TRPV2, were confirmed as differentially expressed after 6 h of exposure. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first large-scale study reporting on potential gene expression modification associated with MMW radiation used in wireless communication applications.

Keywords: 60 GHz; DNA microarray; biological effects; millimeter waves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / radiation effects
  • Genome, Human / physiology
  • Genome, Human / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / physiology*
  • Keratinocytes / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Microwaves*
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Radiation Dosage


  • Proteome