Effect of mobile phone signal radiation on epigenetic modulation in the hippocampus of Wistar rat

Environ Res. 2020 Oct 7;192:110297. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.110297. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Exponential increase in mobile phone uses, given rise to public concern regarding the alleged deleterious health hazards as a consequence of prolonged exposure. In 2018, the U.S. National toxicology program reported, two year toxicological studies for potential health hazards from exposure to cell phone radiations. Epigenetic modulations play a critical regulatory role in many cellular functions and pathological conditions. In this study, we assessed the dose-dependent and frequency-dependent epigenetic modulation (DNA and Histone methylation) in the hippocampus of Wistar rats. A Total of 96 male Wistar rats were segregated into 12 groups exposed to 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2450 MHz RF-MW at a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 5.84 × 10-4 W/kg, 5.94 × 10-4 W/kg and 6.4 × 10-4 W/kg respectively for 2 h per day for 1-month, 3-month and 6-month periods. At the end of the exposure duration, animals were sacrificed to collect the hippocampus. Global hippocampal DNA methylation and histone methylation were estimated by ELISA. However, DNA methylating enzymes, DNA methyltransferase1 (DNMT1) and histone methylating enzymes euchromatic histone methylthransferase1 (EHMT1) expression was evaluated by real-time PCR, as well as further validated with Western blot. Alteration in epigenetic modulation was observed in the hippocampus. Global DNA methylation was decreased and histone methylation was increased in the hippocampus. We observed that microwave exposure led to significant epigenetic modulations in the hippocampus with increasing frequency and duration of exposure. Microwave exposure with increasing frequency and exposure duration brings significant (p < 0.05) epigenetic modulations which alters gene expression in the hippocampus.

Keywords: Epigenetic modulations; Hippocampus; Microwave exposure; Mobile phone; Wistar rat.