The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a 2450 MHz electromagnetic field (EMF) (wireless internet frequency) on the growth and development of female Wistar rats. The study was conducted on three groups of rats. The prenatal and postnatal groups were exposed to EMF 1 h/day beginning from intrauterine and postnatal periods, respectively. The third group was the sham-exposed group. Growth, nutrition and vaginal opening (VO) were regularly monitored. Serum and tissue specimens were collected at puberty. Histological examinations, total antioxidant status (TAS), total oxidant status (TOS) and oxidative stress index (OSI) measurements in ovary and brain tissues and also immunohistochemical staining of the hypothalamus were performed besides the determination of serum FSH, LH, E2 and IGF-1 values. Birth masses of the groups were similar (p > 0.05). Mass gain per day was significantly lower and the puberty was significantly later in the prenatal group. Brain and ovary TOS and OSI values in the prenatal group were significantly increased (p < 0.05) compared to the control group. Serum LH levels of the prenatal and postnatal groups were increased, although serum FSH, and E2 values did not differ among the groups (p > 0.05). Histological examinations of the specimens revealed no statistically significant difference between the groups (p > 0.05). Exposure to 2450 MHz EMF, particularly in the prenatal period, resulted in postnatal growth restriction and delayed puberty in female Wistar rats. Increased TOS and OSI values in the brain and ovary tissues can be interpreted as a sign of chronic stress induced by EMF. This is the first longitudinal study which investigates the effects of EMF induced by wireless internet on pubertal development beside growth.
Keywords: 2450 MHz; growth; puberty; wireless.