Objective: This study aimed to determine the effect of radiofrequency radiation generated by 900 and 1800 MHz Global System for Mobile Communications sources on cochlear development in the rat model.
Methods: Eight pregnant albino Wistar rats were divided into three groups: control, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. The latter two groups of pregnant rats were exposed to radiofrequency radiation for 1 hour per day starting on the 12th day of pregnancy until delivery. The rats in the control, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz groups gave birth to 24, 31 and 26 newborn rats respectively. Newborn rats in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz groups were exposed to radiofrequency radiation for 1 hour per day for 21 days after delivery. Hearing evaluations of newborn rats were carried out using distortion product otoacoustic emissions testing. Eight newborn rats were randomly selected from each group for electron microscopic evaluation.
Results: Distortion product otoacoustic emission tests revealed no significant difference among the groups, but electron microscopic evaluation revealed significant differences among the groups with regard to the number of normal, apoptotic and necrotic cells.
Conclusion: The findings indicated cellular structural damage in the cochlea caused by radiofrequency radiation exposure during cochlear development in the rat model.