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Keywords:

  • Bioinformatics;
  • Mobile phones;
  • Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields;
  • Transcriptome analysis

Abstract

Possible biological effects of mobile phone microwaves were investigated in vitro. In this study, which was part of the 5FP EU project REFLEX (Risk Evaluation of Potential Environmental Hazards From Low-Energy Electromagnetic Field Exposure Using Sensitive in vitro Methods), six human cell types, immortalized cell lines and primary cells, were exposed to 900 and 1800 MHz. RNA was isolated from exposed and sham-exposed cells and labeled for transcriptome analysis on whole-genome cDNA arrays. The results were evaluated statistically using bioinformatics techniques and examined for biological relevance with the help of different databases. NB69 neuroblastoma cells, T lymphocytes, and CHME5 microglial cells did not show significant changes in gene expression. In EA.hy926 endothelial cells, U937 lymphoblastoma cells, and HL-60 leukemia cells we found between 12 and 34 up- or down-regulated genes. Analysis of the affected gene families does not point towards a stress response. However, following microwave exposure, some but not all human cells might react with an increase in expression of genes encoding ribosomal proteins and therefore up-regulating the cellular metabolism.