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Keywords:

  • feasibility study;
  • GSM-1800 signal;
  • neuronal networks;
  • electrical activity;
  • in vitro

Abstract

The central nervous system is the most likely target of mobile telephony radiofrequency (RF) field exposure in terms of biological effects. Several electroencephalography (EEG) studies have reported variations in the alpha-band power spectrum during and/or after RF exposure, in resting EEG and during sleep. In this context, the observation of the spontaneous electrical activity of neuronal networks under RF exposure can be an efficient tool to detect the occurrence of low-level RF effects on the nervous system. Our research group has developed a dedicated experimental setup in the GHz range for the simultaneous exposure of neuronal networks and monitoring of electrical activity. A transverse electromagnetic (TEM) cell was used to expose the neuronal networks to GSM-1800 signals at a SAR level of 3.2 W/kg. Recording of the neuronal electrical activity and detection of the extracellular spikes and bursts under exposure were performed using microelectrode arrays (MEAs). This work provides the proof of feasibility and preliminary results of the integrated investigation regarding exposure setup, culture of the neuronal network, recording of the electrical activity, and analysis of the signals obtained under RF exposure. In this pilot study on 16 cultures, there was a 30% reversible decrease in firing rate (FR) and bursting rate (BR) during a 3 min exposure to RF. Additional experiments are needed to further characterize this effect. Bioelectromagnetics 34:571–578, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.