Murine embryonic C3H/10T½ fibroblasts were exposed to X-rays at doses of 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2 or 5Gy. To follow the development of radiation-induced genomic instability (RIGI), the frequency of micronuclei was measured with flow cytometry at 2 days after exposure and in the progeny of the irradiated cells at 8 and 15 days after exposure. Gene expression was measured at the same points in time by PCR arrays profiling the expression of 84 cancer-relevant genes. The micronucleus results showed a gradual decrease in the slope of the dose-response curve between days 2 and 15. The data were consistent with a model assuming two components in RIGI. The first component is characterized by dose-dependent increase in micronuclei. It may persist more than ten cell generations depending on dose, but eventually disappears. The second component is more persistent and independent of dose above a threshold higher than 0.2Gy. Gene expression analysis 2 days after irradiation at 5Gy showed consistent changes in genes that typically respond to DNA damage. However, the consistency of changes decreased with time, suggesting that non-specificity and increased heterogeneity of gene expression are characteristic to the second, more persistent component of RIGI.
Cashiers are potentially exposed to intermediate frequency (IF) magnetic fields at their workplaces because of the electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems used in stores to protect merchandise against theft. This study aimed at investigating occupational exposure of cashiers to IF magnetic fields in Finnish stores. Exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields was also evaluated because cashiers work near various devices operating with 50?Hz electric power. The peak magnetic flux density was measured for IF magnetic fields, and was found to vary from 0.2 to 4?µT at the cashier's seat. ELF magnetic fields from 0.03 to 4.5?µT were found at the cashier's seat. These values are much lower than exposure limits. However, according to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) occupational reference levels for IF magnetic fields (141?µT for the peak field) were exceeded in some cases (maximum 189?µT) for short periods of time when cashiers walked through the EAS gates. As the ICNIRP reference levels do not define any minimum time for exposure, additional investigations are recommended to determine compliance with basic restrictions. Even if the basic restrictions are not exceeded, persons working near EAS devices represent an exceptional group of workers with respect to exposure to electromagnetic fields. This group could serve as a basis for epidemiological studies addressing possible health effects of IF magnetic fields. Compliance with the reference levels for IF fields was evaluated using both broadband measurement of peak fields and the ICNIRP summation rule for multiple frequencies. The latter was generally more conservative, and the difference between the two methods was large (>10-fold) for EAS systems using a 58?kHz signal with complex waveform. This indicates that the ICNIRP multiple frequency rule can be unnecessarily conservative when measuring complex waveforms.
There is limited understanding of how radiation or chemicals induce genomic instability, and how the instability is epigenetically transmitted to the progeny of exposed cells or organisms. Here, we measured the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) and DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) in murine embryonal fibroblasts exposed to ionizing radiation or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), which were previously shown to induce genomic instability in this cell line. Cadmium was used as a reference agent that does not induce genomic instability in our experimental model. Measurements at 8 and 15?days after exposure did not identify any such persistent changes that could be considered as signals transmitting genomic instability to the progeny of exposed cells. However, measurements at 2?days after exposure revealed findings that may reflect initial stages of genomic instability. Changes that were common to TCDD and two doses of radiation (but not to cadmium) included five candidate signature miRNAs and general up-regulation of miRNA expression. Expression of DNMT3a, DNMT3b, and DNMT2 was suppressed by cadmium but not by TCDD or radiation, consistently with the hypothesis that sufficient expression of DNMTs is necessary in the initial phase of induced genomic instability.
Epidemiological studies have suggested that exposure to 50Hz magnetic fields (MF) increases the risk of childhood leukemia, but there is no mechanistic explanation for carcinogenic effects. In two previous studies we have observed that a 24-h pre-exposure to MF alters cellular responses to menadione-induced DNA damage. The aim of this study was to investigate the cellular changes that must occur already during the first 24h of exposure to MF, and to explore whether the MF-induced changes in DNA damage response can lead to genomic instability in the progeny of the exposed cells. In order to answer these questions, human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells were exposed to a 50-Hz, 100-?T MF for 24h, followed by 3-h exposure to menadione. The main finding was that MF exposure was associated with increased level of micronuclei, used as an indicator of induced genomic instability, at 8 and 15 days after the exposures. Other delayed effects in MF-exposed cells included increased mitochondrial activity at 8 days, and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and lipid peroxidation at 15 days after the exposures. Oxidative processes (ROS production, reduced glutathione level, and mitochondrial superoxide level) were affected by MF immediately after the exposure. In conclusion, the present results suggest that MF exposure disturbs oxidative balance immediately after the exposure, which might explain our previous findings on MF altered cellular responses to menadione-induced DNA damage. Persistently elevated levels of micronuclei were found in the progeny of MF-exposed cells, indicating induction of genomic instability.
Cardiac pacemakers are known to be susceptible to strong electromagnetic fields (EMFs). This in vivo study investigated occurrence of electromagnetic interference with pacemakers caused by common environmental sources of EMFs.
Previous studies have shown that populations of multiapartment buildings with indoor transformer stations may serve as a basis for improved epidemiological studies on the relationship between childhood leukaemia and extremely-low-frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MFs). This study investigated whether classification based on structural characteristics of the transformer stations would improve ELF MF exposure assessment. The data included MF measurements in apartments directly above transformer stations ("exposed" apartments) in 30 buildings in Finland, and reference apartments in the same buildings. Transformer structural characteristics (type and location of low-voltage conductors) were used to classify exposed apartments into high-exposure (HE) and intermediate-exposure (IE) categories. An exposure gradient was observed: both the time-average MF and time above a threshold (0.4??T) were highest in the HE apartments and lowest in the reference apartments, showing a statistically significant trend. The differences between HE and IE apartments, however, were not statistically significant. A simulation exercise showed that the three-category classification did not perform better than a two-category classification (exposed and reference apartments) in detecting the existence of an increased risk. However, data on the structural characteristics of transformers is potentially useful for evaluating exposure-response relationship.
Animal studies can contribute to addressing the issue of possible greater health risk for children exposed to 50-60 Hz extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MFs), mostly in terms of teratological effects and cancer. Teratology has been extensively studied in animals exposed to ELF MFs but experiments have not established adverse developmental effects. Childhood leukaemia has been the only cancer consistently reported in epidemiological studies as associated with exposure to ELF MFs. This association has been the basis for the classification as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2002. Animal experiments have provided only limited support for these epidemiological findings. However, none but one study used an animal model for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), the main form of childhood leukaemia, and exposures to ELF MFs were not carried out over the whole pregnancy period, when the first hit of ALL is assumed to occur. Moreover, there are no generally accepted biophysical mechanisms that could explain carcinogenic effects of low-level MFs. The radical pair mechanism and related cryptochromes (CRY) molecules have recently been identified in birds and other non-mammalian species, as a sensor of the geomagnetic field, involved in navigation. The hypothesis has to be tested in mammalian models. CRY, which is part of the molecular circadian clock machinery, is a ubiquitous protein likely to be involved in cancer cell growth and DNA repair. In summary, we now have some clues to test for a better characterization of the interaction between ALL and ELF MFs exposure.
Cobalt (Co), lead (Pb), molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni), uranium (U), and zinc (Zn) are among the elements that have radioactive isotopes in radioactive waste. Soil-to-plant transfer is a key process for possible adverse effects if these radionuclides are accidentally released into the environment. The present study aimed at investigating factors affecting such transfer in boreal forest. The plant species studied were blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), May lily (Maianthemum bifolium), narrow buckler fern (Dryopteris carthusiana), rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and Norway spruce (Picea abies). Regression analyses were carried out to investigate the effects of the chemical composition and physical properties of soil on the soil-to-leaf/needle concentration ratios of Co, Mo, Ni, Pb, U and Zn. Soil potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), phosphorus (P) and sulphur (S) concentrations were the most important factors affecting the soil-to-plant transfer of the elements studied. Soil clay and organic matter contents were found to significantly affect plant uptake of Mo, Pb and U. Knowledge of the effects of these factors is helpful for interpretation of the predictions of radioecological models describing soil-to-plant transfer and for improving such models.
Element-specific concentration ratios (CRs) assuming that plant uptake of elements is linear are commonly used in radioecological modelling to describe the soil-to-plant transfer of elements. The goal of this study was to investigate the validity of the linearity assumption in boreal forest plants, for which only limited relevant data are available. The soil-to-plant transfer of three essential (Mo, Ni, Zn) and two non-essential (Pb, U) elements relevant to the safety of radioactive waste disposal was studied. Three understory species (blueberry, narrow buckler fern and May lily) and two tree species (Norway spruce and rowan) were included. Examining CRs as a function of soil concentration showed that CR was not constant but decreased with increasing soil concentrations for all elements and plant species. A non-linear equation fitted fairly well with the empirical data; the R(2)-values for this equation were constantly higher than those for the linear fit. The difference between the two fits was most evident at low soil concentrations where the use of constant CRs underestimated transfer from soil to plants. Site-specific factors affected the transfer of Mo and Ni. The results suggested that systematic variation with soil concentrations explains a part of the large variation of empirically determined CRs, and the accuracy of modelling the soil-to-plant transfer might be improved by using non-linear methods. Non-linearity of soil-to-plant transfer has been previously reported for a few different species, elements and environments. The present study systematically tested the linearity assumption for five elements (both essential and non-essential) and in five boreal forest species representing different growth traits and phylogenies. The data supported non-linearity in all cases.
Extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) are generated by power lines and various electric appliances. They have been classified as possibly carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, but a mechanistic explanation for carcinogenic effects is lacking. A previous study in our laboratory showed that pre-exposure to ELF MF altered cancer-relevant cellular responses (cell cycle arrest, apoptosis) to menadione-induced DNA damage, but it did not include endpoints measuring actual genetic damage. In the present study, we examined whether pre-exposure to ELF MF affects chemically induced DNA damage level, DNA repair rate, or micronucleus frequency in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells.
The biological effects of modulated radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields have been a subject of debate since early publications more than 30 years ago, suggesting that relatively weak amplitude-modulated RF electromagnetic fields have specific biological effects different from the well-known thermal effects of RF energy. This discussion has been recently activated by the increasing human exposure to RF fields from wireless communication systems. Modulation is used in all wireless communication systems to enable the signal to carry information. A previous review in 1998 indicated that experimental evidence for modulation-specific effects of RF energy is weak. This article reviews recent studies (published after 1998) on the biological effects of modulated RF fields. The focus is on studies that have compared the effects of modulated and unmodulated (continuous wave) RF fields, or compared the effects of different kinds of modulations; studies that used only one type of signal are not included. While the majority of recent studies have reported no modulation-specific effects, there are a few interesting exceptions indicating that there may be specific effects from amplitude-modulated RF fields on the human central nervous system. These findings warrant follow-up studies.
The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the "radical pair mechanism" (magnetic field effect on recombination rate of radical pairs) explains our previous findings indicating that 50 Hz magnetic fields (MF) of about 100 µT modify biological responses to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In the present study, the effects of 50 Hz MF on cellular oxidative processes induced by UV radiation were investigated. Murine L929 fibroblast cells were exposed to 50 Hz MF of 100 or 300 µT during a 1-h UV exposure or for 24 h before it. The decay kinetics of oxidative reactions were analysed by measuring ultraweak chemiluminescence (photon emissions) of the exposed cells by scintillation counter in the out-of-coincidence mode. No significant MF effects were found. The results do not support the hypothesis that 100-300 µT MF modify biological responses to UV radiation by causing an overall change in oxidative reactions at cellular level.
In long-term safety assessment models for radioactive waste disposal, uptake of radionuclides by plants is an important process with possible adverse effects in ecosystems. Cobalt-60, (59,63)Ni, (93)Mo, and (210)Pb are examples of long-living radionuclides present in nuclear waste. The soil-to-plant transfer of stable cobalt, nickel, molybdenum and lead and their distribution across plant parts were investigated in blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), May lily (Maianthemum bifolium), narrow buckler fern (Dryopteris carthusiana), rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and Norway spruce (Picea abies) at two boreal forest sites in Eastern Finland. The concentrations of all of the studied elements were higher in roots than in above-ground plant parts showing that different concentration ratios (CR values) are needed for modelling the transfer to roots and stems/leaves. Some significant differences in CR values were found in comparisons of different plant species and of the same species grown at different sites. However, large within-species variation suggests that it is not justified to use different CR values for modelling soil-to-plant transfer of these elements in the different boreal forest plant species.
The aim of the present study was to investigate possible cooperative effects of radiofrequency (RF) radiation and ferrous chloride (FeCl(2)) on reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and DNA damage. In order to test intracellular ROS production as a possible underlying mechanism of DNA damage, we applied the fluorescent probe DCFH-DA. Integrity of DNA was quantified by alkaline comet assay. The exposures to 872 MHz RF radiation were conducted at a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 5 W/kg using continuous waves (CW) or a modulated signal similar to that used in Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) phones. Four groups were included: (1) Sham exposure (control), (2) RF radiation, (3) Chemical treatment, (4) Chemical treatment, and RF radiation. In the ROS production experiments, human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) cells were exposed to RF radiation and 10 microg/ml FeCl(2) for 1 h. In the comet assay experiments, the exposure time was 3 h and an additional chemical (0.015% diethyl maleate) was used to make DNA damage level observable. The chemical treatments resulted in statistically significant responses, but no effects from either CW or modulated RF radiation were observed on ROS production, DNA damage or cell viability.
The effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (EMF), specifically related to the use of mobile telephones, on the nervous system in humans have been the subject of a large number of experimental studies in recent years. There is some evidence of an effect of exposure to a Global System for Mobile Telecommunication (GSM)-type signal on the spontaneous electroencephalogram (EEG). This is not corroborated, however, by the results from studies on evoked potentials. Although there is some evidence emerging that there may be an effect of exposure to a GSM-type signal on sleep EEG, results are still variable. In summary, exposure to a GSM-type signal may result in minor effects on brain activity, but such changes have never been found to relate to any adverse health effects. No consistent significant effects on cognitive performance in adults have been observed. If anything, any effect is small and exposure seems to improve performance. Effects in children did not differ from those in healthy adults. Studies on auditory and vestibular function are more unequivocal: neither hearing nor the sense of balance is influenced by short-term exposure to mobile phone signals. Subjective symptoms over a wide range, including headaches and migraine, fatigue, and skin itch, have been attributed to various radiofrequency sources both at home and at work. However, in provocation studies a causal relation between EMF exposure and symptoms has never been demonstrated. There are clear indications, however, that psychological factors such as the conscious expectation of effect may play an important role in this condition.
The aim of this study was to design, implement and analyze a space-efficient setup for the whole-body exposure of unrestrained Wistar rats to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields at 900 MHz. The setup was used for 2 years in a cocarcinogenesis study and part of it for 5 weeks in a central nervous system (CNS) study. Up to 216 rats could be placed in separate cages in nine different exposure chambers on three racks requiring only 9 m2 of floor area (24 rats per m2). Chambers were radial transmission lines (RTL), where the rats could freely move in their cages where food and drinking water was provided ad libitum except during RF exposure periods. Dosimetrical analysis was based on FDTD computations with heterogeneous rat models and was validated with calorimetrical measurements carried out with homogeneous phantoms. The estimated whole-body average specific absorption rates (SAR) of rats were 0 (sham), 0.4, and 1.3 W/kg in the cocarcinogenesis study and 0 (sham), 0.27, and 2.7 W/kg in the CNS study with an estimated uncertainty of 3 dB (K = 2). The instantaneous and lifetime variations of whole-body average SAR due to the movement of rats were estimated to be 2.3 and 1.3 dB (K = 1), respectively.
The objective of the study was to investigate effects of 872 MHz radiofrequency (RF) radiation on intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and DNA damage at a relatively high SAR value (5 W/kg). The experiments also involved combined exposure to RF radiation and menadione, a chemical inducing intracellular ROS production and DNA damage. The production of ROS was measured using the fluorescent probe dichlorofluorescein and DNA damage was evaluated by the Comet assay. Human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells were exposed to RF radiation for 1 h with or without menadione. Control cultures were sham exposed. Both continuous waves (CW) and a pulsed signal similar to that used in global system for mobile communications (GSM) mobile phones were used. Exposure to the CW RF radiation increased DNA breakage (p<0.01) in comparison to the cells exposed only to menadione. Comparison of the same groups also showed that ROS level was higher in cells exposed to CW RF radiation at 30 and 60 min after the end of exposure (p<0.05 and p<0.01, respectively). No effects of the GSM signal were seen on either ROS production or DNA damage. The results of the present study suggest that 872 MHz CW RF radiation at 5 W/kg might enhance chemically induced ROS production and thus cause secondary DNA damage. However, there is no known mechanism that would explain such effects from CW RF radiation but not from GSM modulated RF radiation at identical SAR.
Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can pose a danger to workers with pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). At some workplaces electromagnetic fields are high enough to potentially inflict EMI. The purpose of this in vivo study was to evaluate the susceptibility of pacemakers and ICDs to external electromagnetic fields.
Radiation-induced genomic instability has been well documented, particularly in vitro. However, the understanding of its mechanisms and their consequences in vivo is still limited. In this study, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans; strain CB665) nematodes were exposed to X-rays at doses of 0.1, 1, 3 or 10Gy. The endpoints were measured several generations after exposure and included mutations in the movement-related gene unc-58, alterations in gene expression analysed with oligoarrays containing the entire C. elegans genome, and micro-satellite mutations measured by capillary electrophoresis. The progeny of the irradiated nematodes showed an increased mutation frequency in the unc-58 gene, with a maximum response observed at 1Gy. Significant differences were also found in gene expression between the irradiated (1Gy) and non-irradiated nematode lines. Differences in gene expression did not show clear clustering into certain gene categories, suggesting that the instability might be a chaotic process rather than a result of changes in the function of few specific genes such as, e.g., those responsible for DNA repair. Increased heterogeneity in gene expression, which has previously been described in irradiated cultured human lymphocytes, was also observed in the present study in C. elegans, the coefficient of variation of gene expression being higher in the progeny of irradiated nematodes than in control nematodes. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first publication reporting radiation-induced genomic instability in C. elegans.
Ionizing radiation and certain other exposures have been shown to induce genomic instability (GI), i.e., delayed genetic damage observed many cell generations later in the progeny of the exposed cells. The aim of this study was to investigate induction of GI by a nongenotoxic carcinogen, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (C3H10T1/2) were exposed to 1, 10 or 100 nM TCDD for 2 days. Micronuclei (MN) and expression of selected cancer-related genes were assayed both immediately and at a delayed point in time (8 days). For comparison, similar experiments were done with cadmium, a known genotoxic agent. TCDD treatment induced an elevated frequency of MN at 8 days, but not directly after the exposure. TCDD-induced alterations in gene expression were also mostly delayed, with more changes observed at 8 days than at 2 days. Exposure to cadmium produced an opposite pattern of responses, with pronounced effects immediately after exposure but no increase in MN and few gene expression changes at 8 days. Although all responses to TCDD alone were delayed, menadione-induced DNA damage (measured by the Comet assay), was found to be increased directly after a 2-day TCDD exposure, indicating that the stability of the genome was compromised already at this time point. The results suggested a flat dose-response relationship consistent with dose-response data reported for radiation-induced GI. These findings indicate that TCDD, although not directly genotoxic, induces GI, which is associated with impaired DNA damage response.
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