[en] oxidative stress ; cultured nerve cells ; cell death ; iron ; nitric oxide ; 50 Hz ; ELF
[en] This study was designed to assess the effect of 50 Hz electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on hippocampal cell cultures in the presence or absence of either sodium nitroprusside (SNP, a NO donor) or Fe2+ induced oxidative stress. One week old cultured rat hippocampal cells were exposed to either intermittent EMFs (IEMFs, 50 Hz, 0-5 mT, 1 min ON/OFF cycles, repeated 10 times every 2 h, 6 times/day during 48 h) or continuous EMFs (CEMFs, 50 Hz, 0-5 mT for 48 h). In a second set of experiments, the effect on such EMFs applied in combination with oxidative stress induced by 0.5 microM Fe2+ or SNP was estimated. At the end of both sets of experiments, cell mortality was assessed by lactate dehydrogenase measurements (LDH). Neither type of exposure to EMFs was observed to modify the basal rate of cell mortality. The exposure to CEMFs in presence of either NO or Fe2+ did not induce any significant increase in cell death. However, when cells were exposed to EMFs in the presence of NO, we observed a significant increase in cell death of 11 and 23% (P<0.001) at 2.5 and 5 mT, respectively. This effect had some specificity because IEMFs did not modify the effect of Fe2+ on cell mortality. Although the effects of IEMFs reported in this study were only observed at very high intensities, our model may prove valuable in trying to identify one cellular target of EMFs.