Possible effects of different doses of 2.1 GHz electromagnetic radiation on learning, and hippocampal levels of cholinergic biomarkers in Wistar rats

Electromagn Biol Med. 2021 Jan 2;40(1):179-190. doi: 10.1080/15368378.2020.1851251. Epub 2020 Dec 1.


The present study evaluated whether short-term exposure to different doses of 2.1 GHz radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) has different effects on rats' behaviour and hippocampal levels of central cholinergic biomarkers. Animals were divided into three equal groups namely; group 1 was sham-exposed group, group 2-3 were exposed to 45 V/m and 65 V/m doses of 2.1 GHz frequency for 1 week respectively. Numerical dosimetry simulations were carried out. Object location and Y-maze were used as behavioural tasks. The protein and mRNA expression levels of AChE, ChAT, and VAChT, in the hippocampus were tested using Western Blotting and Real-Time PCR. The impairment performance of rats subjected to 65 V/m dose of 2.1 GHz RF-EMR in both object location and Y-maze tasks was observed. The hippocampal levels of AChE, ChAT, and VAChT, were significantly lower in rats exposed to 65 V/m dose of 2.1 GHz RF-EMR than others. The stronger effect of "65 V/m" dose on both rat's hippocampal-dependent behavioural performances and hippocampal levels of cholinergic biomarkers may be due to the stronger effect of "65 V/m" dose where rats' snouts were located at the nearest distance from the monopole antenna. Furthermore, the simulated SAR values were high for 65 V/m electric-field strengths. For the first time, we report the potential dose-dependent effects of short-term exposure to 2.1 GHz radiation on rat's behavioural performances as well as hippocampal levels of cholinergic biomarkers. Further studies are needed to understand the mechanisms by which RF-EMR influences the function of the central cholinergic system in the brain.

Keywords: Rats; behaviour; cholinergic biomarkers; hippocampus; radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electromagnetic Radiation*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / radiation effects*
  • Learning / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Radio Waves
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Biomarkers