Artificial reproduction of magnetic fields produced by a natural geomagnetic storm increases systolic blood pressure in rats

Int J Biometeorol. 2016 Nov;60(11):1753-1760. doi: 10.1007/s00484-016-1164-5. Epub 2016 Apr 19.


The incidence of geomagnetic storms may be associated with changes in circulatory physiology. The way in which the natural variations of the geomagnetic field due to solar activity affects the blood pressure are poorly understood and require further study in controlled experimental designs in animal models. In the present study, we tested whether the systolic arterial pressure (AP) in adult rats is affected by simulated magnetic fields resembling the natural changes of a geomagnetic storm. We exposed adult rats to a linear magnetic profile that simulates the average changes associated to some well-known geomagnetic storm phases: the sudden commencement and principal phase. Magnetic stimulus was provided by a coil inductor and regulated by a microcontroller. The experiments were conducted in the electromagnetically isolated environment of a semi-anechoic chamber. After exposure, AP was determined with a non-invasive method through the pulse on the rat's tail. Animals were used as their own control. Our results indicate that there was no statistically significant effect in AP when the artificial profile was applied, neither in the sudden commencement nor in the principal phases. However, during the experimental period, a natural geomagnetic storm occurred, and we did observe statistically significant AP increase during the sudden commencement phase. Furthermore, when this storm phase was artificially replicated with a non-linear profile, we noticed a 7 to 9 % increase of the rats' AP in relation to a reference value. We suggested that the changes in the geomagnetic field associated with a geomagnetic storm in its first day could produce a measurable and reproducible physiological response in AP.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arterial Pressure*
  • Magnetic Fields*
  • Male
  • Rats, Wistar