Several evidences have suggested the ability of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields to influence biological systems, even if the action mechanisms are not well understood. There are few data on the effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on self-renewal of neural progenitor cells. A particular glial type that shows characteristics of stem cells is olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs). Herein, we assessed the non-thermal effects induced on OECs through radiofrequency electromagnetic fields changing the envelope of the electromagnetic wave. Primary OEC cultures were exposed to continuous or amplitude-modulated 900 MHz electromagnetic fields, in the far-field condition and at different exposure times (10, 15, 20 min). The expression of OEC markers (S-100 and nestin), cytoskeletal proteins (GFAP and vimentin), apoptotic pathway activation by caspase-3 cleavage and cell viability were evaluated. Our results highlight that 20 min of exposure to continuous or amplitude-modulated 900 MHz electromagnetic fields induced a different and significant decrease in cell viability. In addition, according to the electromagnetic field waveform, diverse dynamic changes in the expression of the analysed markers in OECs and activation of the apoptotic pathway were observed. The data suggest that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields might play different and important roles in the self-renewal of OEC stem cells, which are involved in nervous system repair.
Keywords: Amplitude modulation; Cytoskeletal protein expression; Neural plasticity; Non-ionizing radiation; Non-thermal effect; Olfactory glial cells.
© 2020. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.