The pathological effects of exposure to an electromagnetic field (EMF) during childhood and adolescence may be greater than those from exposure during adulthood. We investigated possible pathological changes in the cerebellum of adolescent rats exposed to 900 MHz EMF daily for 25 days. We used three groups of six 21-day-old male rats as follows: unexposed control group (Non-EG), sham-exposed group (Sham-EG) and an EMF-exposed group (EMF-EG). EMF-EG rats were exposed to EMF in an EMF cage for 1 h daily from postnatal days 21 through 46. Sham-EG rats were placed in the EMF cage for 1 h daily, but were not subjected to EMF. No procedures were performed on the Non-EG rats. The cerebellums of all animals were removed on postnatal day 47, sectioned and stained with cresyl violet for histopathological and stereological analyses. We found significantly fewer Purkinje cells in the EMF-EG group than in the Non-EG and Sham-EG groups. Histopathological evaluation revealed alteration of normal Purkinje cell arrangement and pathological changes including intense staining of neuron cytoplasm in the EMF-EG group. We found that exposure to continuous 900 MHz EMF for 1 h/day during adolescence can disrupt cerebellar morphology and reduce the number of Purkinje cells in adolescent rats.
Keywords: Purkinje cells; adolescence; cell phone; cerebellum; electromagnetic field; rat.