The proliferative response of NB69 human neuroblastoma cells to a 50 Hz magnetic field is mediated by ERK1/2 signaling

Cell Physiol Biochem. 2012;29(5-6):675-86. doi: 10.1159/000178457. Epub 2012 May 11.


A number of studies have reported that extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) can modulate proliferative processes in vitro; however, the transduction mechanisms implicated in such phenomena remain to be identified. The present study was aimed to determine whether a 50 Hz, 100 μT MF can induce cell proliferation in the human neuroblastoma line NB69, and whether the signaling pathway MAPK-ERK1/2 (Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase - Extracellular-Signal-Regulated Kinase 1 and 2) is involved in that proliferative response. The cultures were exposed intermittently or continuously to the MF for a 63-hour duration. The continuous treatment did not induce significant changes in cell proliferation. In contrast, intermittent exposure caused statistically significant increase in the percent of cells in phase S of the cell cycle, followed by a significant increase in cell number. The intermittent treatment also induced an early, transient and repetitive activation of ERK1/2 that could be involved in the proliferative effects. In fact, both the proliferative response and the repeated activation of ERK1/2 were blocked by PD98059, the specific inhibitor of MEK (ERK kinases 1 and 2). Taken together, the described results indicate that a 50 Hz, 100 μT MF can stimulate proliferation in NB69 cells by triggering MAPK-ERK1/ 2 signaling at each of the "On" periods of an intermittent exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System*
  • Magnetics*
  • Neuroblastoma / enzymology
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology*
  • Phosphorylation


  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein