Oxidative stress response in SH-SY5Y cells exposed to short-term 1800 MHz radiofrequency radiation

J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 2018 Jan 28;53(2):132-138. doi: 10.1080/10934529.2017.1383124. Epub 2017 Nov 17.


The exact mechanism that could explain the effects of radiofrequency (RF) radiation exposure at non-thermal level is still unknown. Increasing evidence suggests a possible involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and development of oxidative stress. To test the proposed hypothesis, human neuroblastoma cells (SH-SY5Y) were exposed to 1800 MHz short-term RF exposure for 10, 30 and 60 minutes. Electric field strength within Gigahertz Transverse Electromagnetic cell (GTEM) was 30 V m-1 and specific absorption rate (SAR) was calculated to be 1.6 W kg-1. Cellular viability was measured by MTT assay and level of ROS was determined by fluorescent probe 2',7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate. Concentrations of malondialdehyde and protein carbonyls were used to assess lipid and protein oxidative damage and antioxidant activity was evaluated by measuring concentrations of total glutathione (GSH). After radiation exposure, viability of irradiated cells remained within normal physiological values. Significantly higher ROS level was observed for every radiation exposure time. After 60 min of exposure, the applied radiation caused significant lipid and protein damage. The highest GSH concentration was detected after 10 minute-exposure. The results of our study showed enhanced susceptibility of SH-SY5Y cells for development of oxidative stress even after short-term RF exposure.

Keywords: Glutathione; in vitro; malondialdehyde; protein carbonyls; reactive oxygen species.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Cells / cytology
  • Cells / metabolism*
  • Cells / radiation effects*
  • Fluoresceins / chemistry
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Radio Waves
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Fluoresceins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • diacetyldichlorofluorescein
  • Glutathione