Effect of Low-Intensity Microwave Radiation on Monoamine Neurotransmitters and Their Key Regulating Enzymes in Rat Brain

Cell Biochem Biophys. 2015 Sep;73(1):93-100. doi: 10.1007/s12013-015-0576-x.


The increasing use of wireless communication devices has raised major concerns towards deleterious effects of microwave radiation on human health. The aim of the study was to demonstrate the effect of low-intensity microwave radiation on levels of monoamine neurotransmitters and gene expression of their key regulating enzymes in brain of Fischer rats. Animals were exposed to 900 MHz and 1800 MHz microwave radiation for 30 days (2 h/day, 5 days/week) with respective specific absorption rates as 5.953 × 10(-4) and 5.835 × 10(-4) W/kg. The levels of monoamine neurotransmitters viz. dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE), epinephrine (E) and serotonin (5-HT) were detected using LC-MS/MS in hippocampus of all experimental animals. In addition, mRNA expression of key regulating enzymes for these neurotransmitters viz. tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) (for DA, NE and E) and tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH1 and TPH2) (for serotonin) was also estimated. Results showed significant reduction in levels of DA, NE, E and 5-HT in hippocampus of microwave-exposed animals in comparison with sham-exposed (control) animals. In addition, significant downregulation in mRNA expression of TH, TPH1 and TPH2 was also observed in microwave-exposed animals (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the results indicate that low-intensity microwave radiation may cause learning and memory disturbances by altering levels of brain monoamine neurotransmitters at mRNA and protein levels.

Keywords: Dopamine; Epinephrine; Microwave; Norepinephrine; Serotonin; Tryptophan hydroxylase; Tyrosine hydroxylase.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biogenic Monoamines / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / enzymology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Microwaves*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase / genetics
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase / metabolism*
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / genetics
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism*


  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase