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Effects of exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields on spermatogenesis in adult rats

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  • Conflicts of interest: None.

Abstract

The constant exposure of modern society to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) has raised considerable concerns about the potential risks to male reproduction. However, the epidemiological and experimental data remain contradictory and inconclusive. In the present study, we investigated the effects of 50 Hz ELF-MF of 500 µT applied 4 h/day, 7 days/week for 4 and 8 weeks on male reproduction, focusing on changes in spermatogenesis. Several biological endpoints related to testicular function and spermatogenesis were measured, including the following: body mass, masses of testes and epididymis, sperm count and abnormal sperm ratio in the caudal epididymis, serum testosterone level, testicular histology, frequency of 14 stages of the cycle of the seminiferous epithelium and of four stages of meiosis I, germ cell apoptosis and testicular oxidative status. No significant differences were found in the biological endpoints between the sham control and the exposed rats in either the 4- or 8-week exposure period. These negative results may result from the lack of change in serum testosterone. In conclusion, our study indicates that exposure to low intensity ELF-MF may have no adverse effects on spermatogenesis. Bioelectromagnetics. 35:58–69, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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