Critical role of model organism selection in assessing weak urban electromagnetic field effects: Implications for human health

Bioelectrochemistry. 2024 Jun 29:160:108756. doi: 10.1016/j.bioelechem.2024.108756. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The impact of electromagnetic fields on human health has been investigated in recent years using various model organisms, yet the findings remain unclear. In our work, we examined the effect of less-explored, weak electromagnetic fields commonly found in the urban environments we inhabit. We studied different impacts of electromagnetic fields with a frequency of 50 Hz and a combination of 50 Hz and 150 Hz, on both yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and human macrophages. We determined growth, survival, and protein composition (SDS-PAGE) (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and morphology of macrophages (human monocytic cell line). In yeast, the sole observed change after 24 h of exposure was the extension of the exponential growth phase by 17 h. Conversely, macrophages exhibited morphological transformations from the anti-inflammatory to the pro-inflammatory type within just 2 h of exposure to the electromagnetic field. Our results suggest that effects of electromagnetic field largely depend on the model organism. The selection of an appropriate model organism proves essential for the study of the specific impacts of electromagnetic fields. The potential risk associated with the presence of pro-inflammatory M1 macrophages in everyday urban environments primarily arises from the continual promotion of inflammatory reactions within a healthy organism and deserves further investigation.

Keywords: Cell cycle; Electromagnetic pollution; Macrophages; Phenotype changes; Urban health risks; Yeast.