Apoptotic cell death during Drosophila oogenesis is differentially increased by electromagnetic radiation depending on modulation, intensity and duration of exposure

Electromagn Biol Med. 2016;35(1):40-53. doi: 10.3109/15368378.2014.971959. Epub 2014 Oct 21.


Present generations are being repeatedly exposed to different types and doses of non-ionizing radiation (NIR) from wireless technologies (FM radio, TETRA and TV stations, GSM and UMTS phones/base stations, Wi-Fi networks, DECT phones). Although there is controversy on the published data regarding the non-thermal effects of NIR, studies have convincingly demonstrated bioeffects. Their results indicate that modulation, intensity, exposure duration and model system are important factors determining the biological response to irradiation. Attempting to address the dependence of NIR bioeffectiveness on these factors, apoptosis in the model biological system Drosophila melanogaster was studied under different exposure protocols. A signal generator was used operating alternatively under Continuous Wave (CW) or Frequency Modulation (FM) emission modes, at three power output values (10 dB, 0, -10 dB), under four carrier frequencies (100, 395, 682, 900 MHz). Newly emerged flies were exposed either acutely (6 min or 60 min on the 6th day), or repeatedly (6 min or 60 min daily for the first 6 days of their life). All exposure protocols resulted in an increase of apoptotic cell death (ACD) observed in egg chambers, even at very low electric field strengths. FM waves seem to have a stronger effect in ACD than continuous waves. Regarding intensity and temporal exposure pattern, EMF-biological tissue interaction is not linear in response. Intensity threshold for the induction of biological effects depends on frequency, modulation and temporal exposure pattern with unknown so far mechanisms. Given this complexity, translating such experimental data into possible human exposure guidelines is yet arbitrary.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Drosophila melanogaster; continuous wave; frequency generator; frequency modulation; frequency window; oogenesis; radiofrequencies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / radiation effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Drosophila melanogaster / cytology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / radiation effects*
  • Electromagnetic Radiation*
  • Oogenesis / radiation effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Wireless Technology