Objective: Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) may induce DNA damage and oxidative stress in human lens epithelial cells (LECs). We aimed to investigate the expression levels of heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27), p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and caspase-3 gene expression levels in rat eye that was exposed to 1800 MHz RF-EMF.
Methods: Thirty-seven female Wistar albino rats were divided into three groups. The rats in the study group (n = 9) were exposed to 1800 MHz RF-EMF at an electric field 6.8 ± 0.1 V/m and 0.06 W/kg specific absorption rate (SAR) for 2 hours per day for eight weeks. Sham group (n = 9) was kept under similar conditions as the exposed group without exposure to RF-EMF. The rats in all three groups were sacrificed and their eyes were removed. Hsp27, p38MAPK, EGFR, caspase-3 gene expression levels were investigated in detail with real-time polymerase chain reactions (Real-Time PCR).
Results: caspase-3 and p38MAPK gene expression were significantly upregulated in the ocular tissues following exposure to RF-EMF (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: According to our findings, eye cells recognize EMF as a stress factor, and in response, activate caspase-3 and p38MAPK gene expressions. These results confirm that RF-EMF can cause cellular damage in rat ocular cells (Tab. 2, Fig. 3, Ref. 37).
Keywords: caspase-3 p38MAPK.; gene expression; radiofrequency radiation; rat eye.