Low-intensity electromagnetic fields induce human cryptochrome to modulate intracellular reactive oxygen species.

Author: Sherrard RM1, Morellini N1, Jourdan N2, El-Esawi M2,3, Arthaut LD2, Niessner C4, Rouyer F5, Klarsfeld A6, Doulazmi M1, Witczak J2, d'Harlingue A2, Mariani J1, Mclure I7, Martino CF7, Ahmad M2,8
Author Information:
1Sorbonne Université, CNRS Unit Biological Adaptation and Ageing, Team Repairing Neural Networks, Paris, France.
2Sorbonne Université, CNRS Unit Biological Adaptation and Ageing, Photobiology Team, Paris, France.
3Botany Department, Faculty of Science, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt.
4Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität Munich, Theresienstraße, Munich, Germany.
5Institut des Neurosciences Paris-Saclay, Université Paris Sud, CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.
6Brain Plasticity Unit, UMR 8249 (ESPCI Paris/CNRS), PSL Research University, Paris, France.
7Department of Biomedical Engineering, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida, United States of America.
8Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America.
Conference/Journal: PLoS Biol.
Date published: 2018 Oct 2
Other: Volume ID: 16 , Issue ID: 10 , Pages: e2006229 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2006229. eCollection 2018 Oct. , Word Count: 198

Exposure to man-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which increasingly pollute our environment, have consequences for human health about which there is continuing ignorance and debate. Whereas there is considerable ongoing concern about their harmful effects, magnetic fields are at the same time being applied as therapeutic tools in regenerative medicine, oncology, orthopedics, and neurology. This paradox cannot be resolved until the cellular mechanisms underlying such effects are identified. Here, we show by biochemical and imaging experiments that exposure of mammalian cells to weak pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) stimulates rapid accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), a potentially toxic metabolite with multiple roles in stress response and cellular ageing. Following exposure to PEMF, cell growth is slowed, and ROS-responsive genes are induced. These effects require the presence of cryptochrome, a putative magnetosensor that synthesizes ROS. We conclude that modulation of intracellular ROS via cryptochromes represents a general response to weak EMFs, which can account for either therapeutic or pathological effects depending on exposure. Clinically, our findings provide a rationale to optimize low field magnetic stimulation for novel therapeutic applications while warning against the possibility of harmful synergistic effects with environmental agents that further increase intracellular ROS.

PMID: 30278045 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2006229