A 60 Hz uniform electromagnetic field promotes human cell proliferation by decreasing intracellular reactive oxygen species levels.

Author: Song K1, Im SH2, Yoon YJ1, Kim HM2, Lee HJ2, Park GS2
1Department of Biochemistry, College of Life Science & Biotechnology, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.
2Department of Electrical Engineering, Pusan National University, Pusan, Korea.
Conference/Journal: PLoS One.
Date published: 2018 Jul 16
Other: Volume ID: 13 , Issue ID: 7 , Pages: e0199753 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199753. eCollection 2018. , Word Count: 210

Previously, we showed that exposure of human normal and cancer cells to a 6 mT, 60 Hz gradient electromagnetic field (EMF) induced genotoxicity. Here, we investigated the cellular effects of a uniform EMF. Single or repetitive exposure to a 6 mT, 60 Hz uniform EMF neither induced DNA damage nor affected cell viability in HeLa and primary IMR-90 fibroblasts. However, continuous exposure of these cells to an EMF promoted cell proliferation. Cell viability increased 24.4% for HeLa and 15.2% for IMR-90 cells after a total 168 h exposure by subculture. This increase in cell proliferation was directly correlated with EMF strength and exposure time. When further incubated without EMF, cell proliferation slowed down to that of unexposed cells, suggesting that the proliferative effect is reversible. The expression of cell cycle markers increased in cells continuously exposed to an EMF as expected, but the distribution of cells in each stage of the cell cycle did not change. Notably, intracellular reactive oxygen species levels decreased and phosphorylation of Akt and Erk1/2 increased in cells exposed to an EMF, suggesting that reduced levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species play a role in increased proliferation. These results demonstrate that EMF uniformity at an extremely low frequency (ELF) is an important factor in the cellular effects of ELF-EMF.

PMID: 30011321 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199753