Nonlinear wave mechanisms in interactions between excitable tissue and electromagnetic fields

Neurol Res. 1982;4(1-2):115-53. doi: 10.1080/01616412.1982.11739619.


It is now well established that intrinsic electromagnetic fields play a key role in a broad range of tissue functions, including embryonic morphogenesis, wound healing, and information transmission in the nervous system. These same processes may be profoundly influenced by eletromagnetic fields induced by an external force. Tissue exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) and ELF-modulated microwave fields at levels below those inducing significant thermal effects has revealed highly nonlinear mechanisms as a basis for observed effects. Interactions of phonons and excitons along linear molecules may produce nonlinear molecular vibrations in the form of soliton waves. Solitons exist in a minimal energy state and are extremely long-lived in comparison to linear oscillations. Solitons may convey energy released by chemical reactions from one site to another in enzymes of other long-chain proteins. These nonlinear waves may also couple reaction-diffusion processes in the intracellular and extracellular domains. A model is proposed for interaction between excitable tissue and electromagnetic fields, based on nonlinear waves in the cell membrane, with ionic interactions as an essential step. Calcium fluxes in the extracellular space of the central system are modeled by a nonlinear reaction-diffusion system. Membrane molecular solitons may exist in long-chain molecules (Davydov type) and play a significant role in charge transfer; or they may exist as nonlinear waves conveying energy along gel-lipid domains from one protein site to another (Sine-Gordon soliton). Soliton movements occur at subsonic velocities.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diffusion
  • Electrolytes / metabolism
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Electromagnetic Phenomena*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Synaptic Transmission*


  • Electrolytes
  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Proteins