Deleterious impacts of a 900-MHz electromagnetic field on hippocampal pyramidal neurons of 8-week-old Sprague Dawley male rats

Brain Res. 2015 Oct 22:1624:232-238. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2015.07.042. Epub 2015 Jul 31.


Children are at potential risk due to their intense use of mobile phones. We examined 8-week-old rats because this age of the rats is comparable with the preadolescent period in humans. The number of pyramidal neurons in the cornu ammonis of the Sprague Dawley male rat (8-weeks old, weighing 180-250 g) hippocampus following exposure to a 900 MHz (MHz) electromagnetic field (EMF) were examined. The study consisted of control (CN-G), sham exposed (SHM-EG) and EMF exposed (EMF-EG) groups with 6 rats in each. The EMF-EG rats were exposed to 900 MHz EMF (1h/day for 30 days) in an EMF jar. The SHM-EG rats were placed in the EMF jar but not exposed to the EMF (1h/day for 30 days). The CN-G rats were not placed into the exposure jar and were not exposed to the EMF during the study period. All animals were sacrificed at the end of the experiment, and their brains were removed for histopathological and stereological analysis. The number of pyramidal neurons in the cornu ammonis of the hippocampus was estimated on Cresyl violet stained sections of the brain using the optical dissector counting technique. Histopathological evaluations were also performed on these sections. Histopathological observation showed abundant cells with abnormal, black or dark blue cytoplasm and shrunken morphology among the normal pyramidal neurons. The largest lateral ventricles were observed in the EMF-EG sections compared to those from the other groups. Stereological analyses showed that the total number of pyramidal neurons in the cornu ammonis of the EMF-EG rats was significantly lower than those in the CN-G (p<0.05) and the SHM-EG (p<0.05). In conclusion, our results suggest that pyramidal neuron loss and histopathological changes in the cornu ammonis of 8-week-old male rats may be due to the 900-MHz EMF exposure.

Keywords: Cell phone; Children; Electromagnetic field; Hippocampus; Male rat; Pyramidal neuron.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Death / radiation effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Male
  • Pyramidal Cells / radiation effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley