The extensive use of mobile phones worldwide has raised increasing concerns about the effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) on the brain due to the proximity of the mobile phone to the head and the appearance of several adverse neurological effects after mobile phone use. It has been hypothesized that the EMR-induced neurological effects may be mediated by amino acid neurotransmitters. Thus, the present study investigated the effect of EMR (frequency 1800 MHz, specific absorption rate 0.843 W/kg, power density 0.02 mW/cm2, modulated at 217 Hz) on the concentrations of amino acid neurotransmitters (glutamic acid, aspartic acid, gamma aminobutyric acid, glycine, taurine, and the amide glutamine) in the hippocampus, striatum, and hypothalamus of juvenile and young adult rats. The juvenile and young adult animals were each divided into two groups: control rats and rats exposed to EMR 1 h daily for 1, 2, and 4 months. A subgroup of rats were exposed daily to EMR for 4 months and then left without exposure for 1 month to study the recovery from EMR exposure. Amino acid neurotransmitters were measured in the hippocampus, striatum, and hypothalamus using high-performance liquid chromatography. Exposure to EMR induced significant changes in amino acid neurotransmitters in the studied brain areas of juvenile and young adult rats, being more prominent in juvenile animals. It could be concluded that the alterations in amino acid neurotransmitters induced by EMR exposure of juvenile and young adult rats may underlie many of the neurological effects reported after EMR exposure including cognitive and memory impairment and sleep disorders. Some of these effects may persist for some time after stopping exposure.
Keywords: Electromagnetic radiation; amino acid neurotransmitters; hippocampus; hypothalamus; rat; striatum.