Exosomal small RNA sequencing uncovers the microRNA dose markers for power frequency electromagnetic field exposure

Biomarkers. May-Jun 2018;23(4):315-327. doi: 10.1080/1354750X.2018.1423707. Epub 2018 Jan 11.


Purpose: The potential health risks caused by power frequency electromagnetic field (PFEMF) have led to increase public health concerns. However, the diagnosis and prognosis remain challenging in determination of exact dose of PFEMF exposure.

Materials and methods: Mice were exposed to different magnetic doses of PFEMF for the following isolation of serum exosomes, microRNAs (miRNAs) extraction and small RNA sequencing. After small RNA sequencing, bioinformatic analysis, quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) validation and serum exosomal miRNA biomarkers were determined.

Results: Significantly changed serum exosomal miRNA as biomarkers of 0.1, 0.5, 2.5 mT and common PFEMF exposure were confirmed. Gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto encyclopaedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis of the downstream target genes of the above-identified exosomal miRNA markers indicated that, exosomal miRNA markers were predicted to be involved in critical pathophysiological processes of neural system and cancer- or other disease-related signalling pathways.

Conclusions: Aberrantly-expressed serum exosomal miRNAs, including miR-128-3p for 0.1 mT, miR-133a-3p for 0.5 mT, miR-142a-5p for 2.5 mT, miR-218-5p and miR-199a-3p for common PFEMF exposure, suggested a series of informative markers for not only identifying the exact dose of PFEMF exposure, also consolidating the base for future clinical intervention.

Keywords: Power frequency electromagnetic fields; exosome; miR-128-3p; miR-133a-3p; miR-142a-5p; miR-199a-3p; miR-218-5p; microRNA.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Computational Biology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Electromagnetic Radiation
  • Exosomes / genetics*
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / analysis*
  • Radiation Exposure / analysis*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA


  • Biomarkers
  • MicroRNAs