Direct effects of music in non-auditory cells in culture

Noise Health. 2013 Sep-Oct;15(66):307-14. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.116568.


The biological effects of electromagnetic waves are widely studied, especially due to their harmful effects, such as radiation-induced cancer and to their application in diagnosis and therapy. However, the biological effects of sound, another physical agent to which we are frequently exposed have been considerably disregarded by the scientific community. Although a number of studies suggest that emotions evoked by music may be useful in medical care, alleviating stress and nociception in patients undergoing surgical procedures as well as in cancer and burned patients, little is known about the mechanisms by which these effects occur. It is generally accepted that the mechanosensory hair cells in the ear transduce the sound-induced mechanical vibrations into neural impulses, which are interpreted by the brain and evoke the emotional effects. In the last decade; however, several studies suggest that the response to music is even more complex. Moreover, recent evidence comes out that cell types other than auditory hair cells could response to audible sound. However, what is actually sensed by the hair cells, and possible by other cells in our organism, are physical differences in fluid pressure induced by the sound waves. Therefore, there is no reasonable impediment for any cell type of our body to respond to a pure sound or to music. Hence, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the response of a human breast cancer cell line, MCF7, to music. The results' obtained suggest that music can alter cellular morpho-functional parameters, such as cell size and granularity in cultured cells. Moreover, our results suggest for the 1 st time that music can directly interfere with hormone binding to their targets, suggesting that music or audible sounds could modulate physiological and pathophysiological processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Size
  • Cell Survival
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Music*
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / physiology*
  • Sound


  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase