Qutob, S. S., Chauhan, V., Bellier, P. V., Yauk, C. L., Douglas, G. R., Berndt, L., Williams, A., Gajda, G. B., Lemay, E., Thansandote, A. and McNamee, J. P. Microarray Gene Expression Profiling of a Human Glioblastoma Cell Line Exposed In Vitro to a 1.9 GHz Pulse-Modulated Radiofrequency Field. Radiat. Res. 165, 636–644 (2006).
The widespread use of mobile phones has led to public concerns about the health effects associated with exposure to radiofrequency (RF) fields. The paramount concern of most persons relates to the potential of these fields to cause cancer. Unlike ionizing radiation, RF fields used for mobile telecommunications (800–1900 MHz) do not possess sufficient energy to directly damage DNA. Most rodent bioassay and in vitro genotoxicity/mutation studies have reported that RF fields at non-thermal levels have no direct mutagenic, genotoxic or carcinogenic effects. However, some evidence has suggested that RF fields may cause detectable postexposure changes in gene expression. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the ability of exposure to a 1.9 GHz pulse-modulated RF field for 4 h at specific absorption rates (SARs) of 0.1, 1.0 and 10.0 W/kg to affect global gene expression in U87MG glioblastoma cells. We found no evidence that non-thermal RF fields can affect gene expression in cultured U87MG cells relative to the nonirradiated control groups, whereas exposure to heat shock at 43°C for 1 h up-regulated a number of typical stress-responsive genes in the positive control group. Future studies will assess the effect of RF fields on other cell lines and on gene expression in the mouse brain after in vivo exposure.