Comparison of Polymerization and Structural Behavior of Microtubules in Rat Brain and Sperm Affected by the Extremely Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Field

BMC Mol Cell Biol. 2019 Aug 29;20(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s12860-019-0224-1.


Background: Microtubule proteins are able to produce electromagnetic fields and have an important role in memory formation, and learning. Therefore, microtubules have the potential to be affected by exogenous electromagnetic fields. This study aimed to examine the comparison of microtubule polymerization and its structural behavior in brain and sperm affected by 50 Hz extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field (ELEF).

Results: Twenties adult male rats were randomly and equally divided into control and experimental groups, to evaluate the effect of 50 Hz ELEF on the sperm and brain functions. Plus-maze, serum testosterone and corticosterone, and sperm evaluation were performed. Next, the semen and brain samples were obtained, and they were divided into four experimental groups for investigation of microtubule polymerization. There was no significant difference in testosterone and, corticosterone levels, anxiety behaviors, and sperm morphology between control and ELEF-exposure groups. The sperm viability, total and progressive motility were significantly higher in the ELEF-exposed group than that of the control group. The microtubule polymerization in sperm ELEF was significantly higher than in other groups. The secondary and tertiary structures of tubulins were significantly affected in the brain, and sperm ELEF groups.

Conclusion: It seems that the polymerization of microtubules and conformational changes of tubulin dimers are improved by ELEF application.

Keywords: Brain and sperm; ELEF; Microtubule.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / metabolism
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Body Weight
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cell Shape
  • Cell Survival
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Microtubules / chemistry*
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Polymerization*
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spermatozoa / cytology
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Tubulin / chemistry
  • Tubulin / metabolism


  • Tubulin
  • Testosterone
  • Corticosterone