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Mobile Phone Radiation Induces Reactive Oxygen Species Production and DNA Damage in Human Spermatozoa In Vitro

Martes 11 de agosto de 2009 · 1260 lecturas

Mobile Phone Radiation Induces Reactive Oxygen
Species Production and DNA Damage in Human
Spermatozoa In Vitro

Abstract
Background: In recent times there has been some controversy over the impact of electromagnetic radiation on human
health. The significance of mobile phone radiation on male reproduction is a key element of this debate since several
studies have suggested a relationship between mobile phone use and semen quality. The potential mechanisms involved
have not been established, however, human spermatozoa are known to be particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress by
virtue of the abundant availability of substrates for free radical attack and the lack of cytoplasmic space to accommodate
antioxidant enzymes. Moreover, the induction of oxidative stress in these cells not only perturbs their capacity for
fertilization but also contributes to sperm DNA damage. The latter has, in turn, been linked with poor fertility, an increased
incidence of miscarriage and morbidity in the offspring, including childhood cancer. In light of these associations, we have
analyzed the influence of RF-EMR on the cell biology of human spermatozoa in vitro.
Principal Findings: Purified human spermatozoa were exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR)
tuned to 1.8 GHz and covering a range of specific absorption rates (SAR) from 0.4 W/kg to 27.5 W/kg. In step with
increasing SAR, motility and vitality were significantly reduced after RF-EMR exposure, while the mitochondrial generation of
reactive oxygen species and DNA fragmentation were significantly elevated (P,0.001). Furthermore, we also observed
highly significant relationships between SAR, the oxidative DNA damage bio-marker, 8-OH-dG, and DNA fragmentation after
RF-EMR exposure.
Conclusions: RF-EMR in both the power density and frequency range of mobile phones enhances mitochondrial reactive
oxygen species generation by human spermatozoa, decreasing the motility and vitality of these cells while stimulating DNA
base adduct formation and, ultimately DNA fragmentation. These findings have clear implications for the safety of extensive
mobile phone use by males of reproductive age, potentially affecting both their fertility and the health and wellbeing of
their offspring.

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