Effect of acute millimeter wave exposure on dopamine metabolism of NGF-treated PC12 cells

J Radiat Res. 2017 Jul 1;58(4):439-445. doi: 10.1093/jrr/rrx004.


Several forthcoming wireless telecommunication systems will use electromagnetic frequencies at millimeter waves (MMWs), and technologies developed around the 60-GHz band will soon know a widespread distribution. Free nerve endings within the skin have been suggested to be the targets of MMW therapy which has been used in the former Soviet Union. So far, no studies have assessed the impact of MMW exposure on neuronal metabolism. Here, we investigated the effects of a 24-h MMW exposure at 60.4 GHz, with an incident power density (IPD) of 5 mW/cm², on the dopaminergic turnover of NGF-treated PC12 cells. After MMW exposure, both intracellular and extracellular contents of dopamine (DA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) were studied using high performance liquid chromatography. Impact of exposure on the dopamine transporter (DAT) expression was also assessed by immunocytochemistry. We analyzed the dopamine turnover by assessing the ratio of DOPAC to DA, and measuring DOPAC accumulation in the medium. Neither dopamine turnover nor DAT protein expression level were impacted by MMW exposure. However, extracellular accumulation of DOPAC was found to be slightly increased, but not significantly. This result was related to the thermal effect, and overall, no evidence of non-thermal effects of MMW exposure were observed on dopamine metabolism.

Keywords: 60 GHz; dopamine turnover; in vitro; neuron-like model.

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Electromagnetic Radiation*
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Nerve Growth Factor / pharmacology*
  • PC12 Cells
  • Rats


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid
  • Nerve Growth Factor
  • Dopamine