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Effect of Environmental Extremely Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields Exposure on Inflammatory Mediators and Serotonin Metabolism in a Human Neuroblastoma Cell Line

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Exposure to environmental extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) in everyday life is increasing and it is a matter of great debate whether exposure to ELF-EMF can be harmful to human health. The neuropathology and symptoms of neurodegenerative disease depends on factors other than genetic predispositions, such as environmental exposure to disease-related risk factors. Research focusing on a possible contribution of ELF-EMF to cell injury and to the development of neurodegenerative disorders is characterized by conflicting data from epidemiological and animal studies. Due to lack of a direct link between neurodegenerative processes and ELF-EMF exposure, our goal was to investigate if ELF-EMF exposure may represent a possible risk factor. In the present study, using neuronal-like SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, we show that the balance between generation and elimination of reactive oxygen species, as well as the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines linked to oxidative stress, was maintained ensuring that cells respond properly to ELF-EMF (50Hz /1mT). In SH-SY5Y-exposed cells we observed increased intracellular 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid/5-hydroxytryptamine ratio reflecting the rate of transmitter synthesis, catabolism and release, while matrix metalloproteinases that play critical roles in neuronal cell death were not significantly altered. The results presented here indicate that changes caused by short (1h-3h) and sub-chronic (48 h) exposure to 50Hz/1mT ELF-EMF in SH-SY5Y cells are minor in comparison to the neuronal cell damage expected to underlie neurodegeneration or cognitive impairment. Thus, these results are in accord with epidemiological studies that have provided little support for a link between ELF-EMFs and neurodegeneration.
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Keywords: 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid; Cytokines; extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields; metalloproteinases; neuronal damage; reactive oxygen species; serotonin

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2016

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  • CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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