A 0.5 G, 60 Hz magnetic field suppresses melatonin production in pinealocytes

Bioelectromagnetics. 1998;19(2):123-7.


The objective of this study was to develop a model for testing various hypotheses concerning possible mechanisms whereby electromagnetic fields might induce suppression of nighttime melatonin production in rodents. A published method for digesting freshly obtained pineal glands to the single cell level was modified, yielding better than 95% viability. An in vitro exposure facility developed for the Food and Drug Administration was used for 12-h overnight exposures of primary pinealocyte cultures to 0.05 mT, 60 Hz, vertical AC and 0.06 microT, DC fields. After exposure, cells were separated from the supernatant by centrifugation. Supernatant melatonin was measured by ELISA assays. Data from 10 experiments demonstrated an average 46% reduction in norepinephrine-induced production of melatonin in the pinealocytes. The results support the hypothesis that EM exposure can produce pineal gland melatonin suppression by affecting individual cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electromagnetic Fields* / adverse effects
  • Environment, Controlled
  • Female
  • Male
  • Melatonin / biosynthesis*
  • Melatonin / radiation effects*
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Pineal Gland / cytology
  • Pineal Gland / metabolism
  • Pineal Gland / radiation effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Time Factors


  • Melatonin
  • Norepinephrine