Effects of 3 Hz and 60 Hz Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields on Anxiety-Like Behaviors, Memory Retention of Passive Avoidance and Electrophysiological Properties of Male Rats

J Lasers Med Sci. 2016 Spring;7(2):120-5. doi: 10.15171/jlms.2016.20. Epub 2016 Mar 27.


Introduction: The effects of electromagnetic fields on biological organisms have been a controversial and also interesting debate over the past few decades, despite the wide range of investigations, many aspects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF/EMFs) effects including mechanism of their interaction with live organisms and also their possible biological applications still remain ambiguous. In the present study, we investigated whether the exposures of ELF/EMF with frequencies of 3 Hz and 60 Hz can affect the memory, anxiety like behaviors, electrophysiological properties and brain's proteome in rats.

Methods: Male rats were exposed to 3 Hz and 60 Hz ELF/EMFs in a protocol consisting of 2 cycles of 2 h/day exposure for 4 days separated with a 2-day interval. Short term memory and anxiety like behaviors were assessed immediately, 1 and 2 weeks after the exposures. Effects of short term exposure were also assessed using electrophysiological approach immediately after 2 hours exposure.

Results: Behavioral test revealed that immediately after the end of exposures, locomotor activity of both 3 Hz and 60 Hz exposed groups significantly decreased compared to sham group. This exposure protocol had no effect on anxiety like behavior during the 2 weeks after the treatment and also on short term memory. A significant reduction in firing rate of locus coeruleus (LC) was found after 2 hours of both 3 Hz and 60 Hz exposures. Proteome analysis also revealed global changes in whole brain proteome after treatment.

Conclusion: Here, some evidence regarding the fact that such exposures can alter locomotor activity and neurons firing rate in male rats were presented.

Keywords: ELF/EMFs; Locomotion; Locus Coeruleus; Memory.