Cognitive impairment and neurogenotoxic effects in rats exposed to low-intensity microwave radiation

Int J Toxicol. 2015 May-Jun;34(3):284-90. doi: 10.1177/1091581815574348. Epub 2015 Mar 5.


The health hazard of microwave radiation (MWR) has become a recent subject of interest as a result of the enormous increase in mobile phone usage. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of chronic low-intensity microwave exposure on cognitive function, heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), and DNA damage in rat brain. Experiments were performed on male Fischer rats exposed to MWR for 180 days at 3 different frequencies, namely, 900, 1800 MHz, and 2450 MHz. Animals were divided into 4 groups: group I: sham exposed; group II: exposed to MWR at 900 MHz, specific absorption rate (SAR) 5.953 × 10(-4) W/kg; group III: exposed to 1800 MHz, SAR 5.835 × 10(-4) W/kg; and group IV: exposed to 2450 MHz, SAR 6.672 × 10(-4) W/kg. All the rats were tested for cognitive function at the end of the exposure period and were subsequently sacrificed to collect brain. Level of HSP70 was estimated by enzyme-linked immunotarget assay and DNA damage was assessed using alkaline comet assay in all the groups. The results showed declined cognitive function, elevated HSP70 level, and DNA damage in the brain of microwave-exposed animals. The results indicated that, chronic low-intensity microwave exposure in the frequency range of 900 to 2450 MHz may cause hazardous effects on the brain.

Keywords: DNA damage; HSP70; brain; cognitive function; comet assay; microwave exposure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / radiation effects
  • Cell Phone
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Comet Assay
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • DNA Damage*
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / radiation effects
  • Microwaves / adverse effects*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurogenesis / radiation effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / radiation effects*
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / metabolism
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Spatial Memory / radiation effects
  • Up-Regulation / radiation effects
  • Whole-Body Irradiation / adverse effects


  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins