Effects of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field on expression levels of some antioxidant genes in human MCF-7 cells

Document Type: Original article


Department of Biology, College of Sciences, Shiraz University, Shiraz 71467-13565, Iran


In the past three decades, study on the biological effects of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) has been of interest to scientists. Although the exact mechanism of its effect is not fully understood, free radical processes has been proposed as a possible mechanism. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of 50-Hz EMFs on the mRNA levels of seven antioxidant genes (CAT, SOD1, SOD2, GSTO1, GSTM3, MSGT1, and MSGT3) in human MCF-7 cells. The EMF exposure patterns were: 1) 5 min field-on/5 min filed-off, 2) 15 min field-on/15 min field-off, 3) 30 min field-on continuously. In all three exposure conditions we tried to have total exposure time of 30 minutes. Control cultures were located in the exposure apparatus when the power was off. The experiments were done at two field intensities; 0.25 mT and 0.50 mT. The RNA extraction was done at two times; immediately post exposure and two hours post exposure. The mRNA levels were determined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. MTT assay for three exposure conditions in the two field intensities represented no cytotoxic effect on MCF-7 cells. Statistical comparison showed a significant difference between 0.25 mT and 0.50 mT intensities for "the 15 min field-on/15 min field-off condition" (Fisher's exact test, P=0.041), indicating that at 0.50 mT intensity field, the number of down-regulated and/or up-regulated genes increased compared with the other ones. However, there is no statistical significant difference between the field intensities for the two others EMF exposure conditions.


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