Purpose: Our study was designed to assess the effects of low intensity radiation of a GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) 900 MHz cellular phone on early embryogenesis in dependence on the duration of exposure.
Materials and methods: Embryos of Japanese Quails were exposed in ovo to GSM 900 MHz cellular phone radiation during initial 38 h of brooding or alternatively during 158 h (120 h before brooding plus initial 38 h of brooding) discontinuously with 48 sec ON (average power density 0.25 μW/cm(2), specific absorption rate 3 μW/kg) followed by 12 sec OFF intervals. A number of differentiated somites were assessed microscopically. Possible DNA damage evoked by irradiation was assessed by an alkaline comet assay.
Results: Exposure to radiation from a GSM 900 MHz cellular phone led to a significantly altered number of differentiated somites. In embryos irradiated during 38 h the number of differentiated somites increased (p < 0.001), while in embryos irradiated during 158 h this number decreased (p < 0.05). The lower duration of exposure led to a significant (p < 0.001) decrease in a level of DNA strand breaks in cells of 38-h embryos, while the higher duration of exposure resulted in a significant (p < 0.001) increase in DNA damage as compared to the control.
Conclusion: Effects of GSM 900 MHz cellular phone radiation on early embryogenesis can be either stimulating or deleterious depending on the duration of exposure.