Proteomic analysis on the alteration of protein expression in the early-stage placental villous tissue of electromagnetic fields associated with cell phone exposure

Reprod Sci. 2013 Sep;20(9):1055-61. doi: 10.1177/1933719112473660. Epub 2013 Feb 18.


Background: To explore the possible adverse effects and search for cell phone electromagnetic field (EMF)-responsive proteins in human early reproduction, a proteomics approach was employed to investigate the changes in protein expression profile induced by cell phone EMF in human chorionic tissues of early pregnancy in vivo.

Methods: Volunteer women about 50 days pregnant were exposed to EMF at the average absorption rate of 1.6 to 8.8 W/kg for 1 hour with the irradiation device placed 10 cm away from the umbilicus at the midline of the abdomen. The changes in protein profile were examined using 2-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE).

Results: Up to 15 spots have yielded significant change at least 2- to 2.5-folds up or down compared to sham-exposed group. Twelve proteins were identified- procollagen-proline, eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1 delta, chain D crystal structure of human vitamin D-binding protein, thioredoxin-like 3, capping protein, isocitrate dehydrogenase 3 alpha, calumenin, Catechol-O-methyltransferase protein, proteinase inhibitor 6 (PI-6; SerpinB6) protein, 3,2-trans-enoyl-CoA isomerase protein, chain B human erythrocyte 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate mutase, and nucleoprotein.

Conclusion: Cell phone EMF might alter the protein profile of chorionic tissue of early pregnancy, during the most sensitive stage of the embryos. The exposure to EMF may cause adverse effects on cell proliferation and development of nervous system in early embryos. Furthermore, 2-DE coupled with mass spectrometry is a promising approach to elucidate the effects and search for new biomarkers for environmental toxic effects.

Keywords: cell phone EMF; early development; placental villous; proteomics; radiofrequency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Phone*
  • Chorionic Villi / metabolism
  • Chorionic Villi / radiation effects*
  • Electromagnetic Fields* / adverse effects
  • Electromagnetic Radiation*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteomics* / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Biomarkers
  • Proteins