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EMF Study
(Database last updated on Sep 28, 2022)

ID Number 2729
Study Type In Vitro
Model In vitro studies at 18 GHz on red blood cells, bacteria and yeast.

AUTHORS' ABSTRACT: Nguyen et al. 2017 (IEEE #6831):The effect of red blood cells (RBC) exposed to an 18 GHz electromagnetic field (EMF) was studied. The results of this study demonstrated for the first time that exposure of RBCs to 18 GHz EMF has the capacity to induce nanospheres uptake in RBCs. The uptake of nanospheres (loading efficiency 96% and 46% for 23.5 and 46.3 nm nanospheres respectively), their presence and locality were confirmed using three independent techniques, namely scanning electron microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. It appeared that 23.5 nm nanospheres were translocated through the membrane into the cytosol, while the 46.3 nm-nanospheres were mostly translocated through the phospholipid-cholesterol bilayer, with only some of these nanospheres passing the 2D cytoskeleton network. The nanospheres uptake increased by up to 12% with increasing temperature from 33 to 37 °C. The TEM analysis revealed that the nanospheres were engulfed by the cell membrane itself, and then translocated into the cytosol. It is believed that EMF-induced rotating water dipoles caused disturbance of the membrane, initiating its deformation and result in an enhanced degree of membrane trafficking via a quasi-exocytosis process. AUTHORS' ABSTRACT: Nguyen et al. 2016 (IEEE #7085): The mechanisms by which various biological effects are triggered by exposure to an electromagnetic field are not fully understood and have been the subject of debate. Here, the effects of exposing typical representatives of themajor microbial taxa to an 18 GHzmicrowave electromagnetic field (EMF)were studied. It appeared that the EMF exposure induced cell permeabilisation in all of the bacteria and yeast studied, while the cells remained viable (94% throughout the exposure), independent of the differences in cell membrane fatty acid and phospholipid composition. The resulting cell permeabilisation was confirmed by detection of the uptake of propidium iodine and 23 nm fluorescent silica nanospheres using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Upon EMF exposure, the bacterial cell membranes are believed to become permeable through quasi-endocytosis processes. The dosimetry analysis revealed that the EMF threshold level required to induce the uptake of the large (46 nm) nanopsheres was between three and six EMF doses, with a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 3 kW/kg and 5 kW/kg per exposure, respectively, depending on the bacterial taxa being studied. It is suggested that the taxonomic affiliation and lipid composition (e.g. the presence of phosphatidyl-glycerol and/or pentadecanoic fatty acid) may affect the extent of uptake of the large nanospheres (46 nm). Multiple 18 GHz EMF exposures over a one-hour period induced periodic anomalous increases in the cell growth behavior of two Staphylococcus aureus strains, namely ATCC 25923 and CIP 65.8T.

Findings Effects (only at thermal levels)
Status Completed With Publication
Principal Investigator ACEBR & Swinburne U of Tech, Hawthorn, Australia
Funding Agency ACEBR, Australia
  • Nguyen, HP et al. Scientific Reports., (2017) 7:10798-
  • Nguyen, HP et al. PLoS ONE., (2016) 11:e0158135.-doi:10.1371/journal.
  • Perera, PGT et al. Int J Nanomedicine., (2018) 13:8429-8442
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