Aim: To investigate putative biological damage caused by GSM mobile phone frequencies by assessing electromagnetic fields during mobile phone working.
Methods: Neuron-like cells, obtained by retinoic-acid-induced differentiation of human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, were exposed for 2 h and 4 h to microwaves at 1800 MHz frequency bands.
Results: Cell stress response was evaluated by MTT assay as well as changes in the heat shock protein expression (Hsp20, Hsp27 and Hsp70) and caspase-3 activity levels, as biomarkers of apoptotic pathway. Under our experimental conditions, neither cell viability nor Hsp27 expression nor caspase-3 activity was significantly changed. Interestingly, a significant decrease in Hsp20 expression was observed at both times of exposure, whereas Hsp70 levels were significantly increased only after 4 h exposure.
Conclusion: The modulation of the expression of Hsps in neuronal cells can be an early response to radiofrequency microwaves.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Electromagnetic field; Heat shock proteins; Microwaves; SH-SY5Y differentiated cells.