Hippocampal Oxidative Stress Induced by Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation and the Neuroprotective Effects of Aerobic Exercise in Rats: A Randomized Control Trial

J Phys Act Health. 2021 Oct 25;1-7. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2021-0213. Online ahead of print.


Background: The present study determined whether 4 weeks of moderate aerobic exercise improves antioxidant capacity on the brain of rats against oxidative stress caused by radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones.

Methods: Responses of malondialdehyde, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase, as well as the number of hippocampal dead cells, were examined. Male Wistar rats (10-12 wk old) were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups (N = 8): (1) moderate aerobic exercise (EXE) (2 × 15-30 min at 1215 m/min speed with 5 min of active recovery between sets), (2) exposure to 900/1800 MHz radiofrequency electromagnetic waves 3 hours per day (RAD), (3) EXE + RAD, and (4) exposure to an experimental phone without battery.

Results: Following the exposure, the number of the hippocampal dead cells was significantly higher in group RAD compared with groups EXE, EXE + RAD, and control group. Malondialdehyde concentration in group RAD was significantly higher than that of groups EXE, EXE + RAD, and control group. Also, the activity of catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase in groups EXE, EXE + RAD, and control group was significantly higher compared with those of the exposure group.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that moderate aerobic exercise enhances hippocampal antioxidant capacity against oxidative challenge in the form of radiofrequency electromagnetic waves.

Keywords: antioxidant capacity; cell phone; hippocampus; moderate exercise; oxidation.