Behavioral and Physiological Effects of Chronic 2,450-MHz Microwave Irradiation of the Rat at 0.5 mW/cm2

Bioelectromagnetics. 1986;7(1):45-56. doi: 10.1002/bem.2250070106.


Adult male Long-Evans rats were intermittently exposed to 2450 MHz CW microwaves at an average power density of 0.5 mW/cm2 for 90 days. The resulting SAR was 0.14 W/kg (range 0.11 to 0.18 W/kg). The animals were exposed 7 h/day, 7 days/wk, for a total of 630 h in a monopole-above-ground radiation chamber while housed in Plexiglas holding cages. Daily measures of body mass and food and water intake indicated no statistically significant effects of microwave exposure. Monthly assessment of reactivity to electric footshock, levels of cholinesterase and sulfhydryl groups in blood, and 17-ketosteroids in urine revealed no reliable differences between 14 sham-exposed and 14 microwave-exposed rats. After the 90 days of exposure, seven rats, randomly chosen from each group, were assessed for open-field behavior, shuttlebox performance, and schedule-controlled (IRT schedule) lever pressing for food pellets. Statistically significant differences between microwave-exposed and sham-exposed rats were observed in shuttlebox performances and lever pressing. Post mortem measures of mass of several organs and microscopic examination of adrenal tissue revealed no differences between the two groups of animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 17-Ketosteroids / urine*
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / radiation effects
  • Behavior, Animal / radiation effects*
  • Body Weight / radiation effects
  • Cholinesterases / blood*
  • Drinking / radiation effects
  • Eating / radiation effects
  • Male
  • Microwaves*
  • Rats
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / blood*


  • 17-Ketosteroids
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • Cholinesterases