Involvement of NMDA receptor in low-frequency magnetic field-induced anxiety in mice

Electromagn Biol Med. 2014 Dec;33(4):312-26. doi: 10.3109/15368378.2013.839453. Epub 2013 Oct 16.


It had been reported that exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic field (ELFMF) induces anxiety in human and rodents. Anxiety mediates via the activation of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, whereas activation of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor attenuates the same. Hence, the present study was carried out to understand the contribution of NMDA and/or GABA receptors modulation in ELFMF-induced anxiety for which Swiss albino mice were exposed to ELFMF (50 Hz, 10 G) by subjecting them to Helmholtz coils. The exposure was for 8 h/day for 7, 30, 60, 90 and 120 days. Anxiety level was assessed in elevated plus maze, open field test and social interaction test, on 7th, 30th, 60th, 90th and 120th exposure day, respectively. Moreover, the role of GABA and glutamate in ELFMF-induced anxiety was assessed by treating mice with muscimol [0.25 mg/kg intraperitoneally (i.p.)], bicuculline (1.0 mg/kg i.p.), NMDA (15 mg/kg i.p.) and MK-801 (0.03 mg/kg i.p.), as a GABAA and NMDA receptor agonist and antagonist, respectively. Glutamate receptor agonist exacerbated while inhibitor attenuated the ELFMF-induced anxiety. In addition, levels of GABA and glutamate were determined in regions of the brain viz, cortex, striatum, hippocampus and hypothalamus. Experiments demonstrated significant elevation of GABA and glutamate levels in the hippocampus and hypothalamus. However, GABA receptor modulators did not produce significant effect on ELFMF-induced anxiety and elevated levels of GABA at tested dose. Together, these findings suggest that ELFMF significantly induced anxiety behavior, and indicated the involvement of NMDA receptor in its effect.

Keywords: anxiety behavior; elevated plus maze; extremely low-frequency magnetic field; glutamate; social interaction; γ-aminobutyric acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Anxiety / metabolism*
  • Bicuculline / pharmacology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Magnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Muscimol / pharmacology
  • N-Methylaspartate / pharmacology
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Social Behavior
  • Time Factors
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Muscimol
  • Glutamic Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Dizocilpine Maleate
  • Bicuculline