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.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2016M3A9C6918275) (KS).
© 2018 Song et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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