Pre-exposure of neuroblastoma cell line to pulsed electromagnetic field prevents H2 O2 -induced ROS production by increasing MnSOD activity

Bioelectromagnetics. 2015 Apr;36(3):219-32. doi: 10.1002/bem.21900. Epub 2015 Feb 23.


Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have been linked to increased risk of cancers and neurodegenerative diseases; however, EMFs can also elicit positive effects on biological systems, and redox status seems crucially involved in EMF biological effects. This study aimed to assess whether a short and repeated pulsed EMF (PEMF) could trigger adaptive responses against an oxidative insult in a neuronal cellular model. We found that a 40 min overall (four times a week, 10 min each) pre-exposure to PEMF did not affect major physiological parameters and led to a significant increase of Mn-dependent superoxide dismutase activity in the human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell line. In addition, we found PEMF-pre-exposed cells exhibited decreased reactive oxygen species production following a 30 min H2 O2 challenge, with respect to non pre-exposed cells. Our findings might provide new insights on the role played by short and repeated PEMF stimulations in the enhancement of cellular defenses against oxidative insults. Although studies in normal neuronal cells would be useful to further confirm our hypothesis, we suggest that specific PEMF treatments may have potential biological repercussions in diseases where oxidative stress is implicated.

Keywords: SH-SY5Y; electromagnetism; oxidative stimulus; reactive oxygen species; superoxide dismutase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Count
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • ELAV-Like Protein 1 / metabolism
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / radiation effects
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology*
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Protein Kinase C-alpha / metabolism
  • Radiation Exposure*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism*
  • Time Factors


  • ELAV-Like Protein 1
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Protein Kinase C-alpha