Effects of electromagnetic fields exposure on the antioxidant defense system

J Microsc Ultrastruct. Oct-Dec 2017;5(4):167-176. doi: 10.1016/j.jmau.2017.07.003. Epub 2017 Aug 2.


Technological devices have become essential components of daily life. However, their deleterious effects on the body, particularly on the nervous system, are well known. Electromagnetic fields (EMF) have various chemical effects, including causing deterioration in large molecules in cells and imbalance in ionic equilibrium. Despite being essential for life, oxygen molecules can lead to the generation of hazardous by-products, known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), during biological reactions. These reactive oxygen species can damage cellular components such as proteins, lipids and DNA. Antioxidant defense systems exist in order to keep free radical formation under control and to prevent their harmful effects on the biological system. Free radical formation can take place in various ways, including ultraviolet light, drugs, lipid oxidation, immunological reactions, radiation, stress, smoking, alcohol and biochemical redox reactions. Oxidative stress occurs if the antioxidant defense system is unable to prevent the harmful effects of free radicals. Several studies have reported that exposure to EMF results in oxidative stress in many tissues of the body. Exposure to EMF is known to increase free radical concentrations and traceability and can affect the radical couple recombination. The purpose of this review was to highlight the impact of oxidative stress on antioxidant systems. Abbreviations: EMF, electromagnetic fields; RF, radiofrequency; ROS, reactive oxygen species; GSH, glutathione; GPx, glutathione peroxidase; GR, glutathione reductase; GST, glutathione S-transferase; CAT, catalase; SOD, superoxide dismutase; HSP, heat shock protein; EMF/RFR, electromagnetic frequency and radiofrequency exposures; ELF-EMFs, exposure to extremely low frequency; MEL, melatonin; FA, folic acid; MDA, malondialdehyde.

Keywords: Antioxidants; EMF; Oxidative stress; ROS.

Publication types

  • Review