Kim JH1, Yu DH1, Huh YH2, Lee EH1, Kim HG1, Kim HR1.
Radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) is used globally in conjunction with mobile communications. There are public concerns of the perceived deleterious biological consequences of RF-EMF exposure. This study assessed neuronal effects of RF-EMF on the cerebral cortex of the mouse brain as a proxy for cranial exposure during mobile phone use. C57BL/6 mice were exposed to 835 MHz RF-EMF at a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 4.0 W/kg for 5 hours/day during 12 weeks. The aim was to examine activation of autophagy pathway in the cerebral cortex, a brain region that is located relatively externally. Induction of autophagy genes and production of proteins including LC3B-II and Beclin1 were increased and accumulation of autolysosome was observed in neuronal cell bodies. However, proapoptotic factor Bax was down-regulted in the cerebral cortex. Importantly, we found that RF-EMF exposure led to myelin sheath damage and mice displayed hyperactivity-like behaviour. The data suggest that autophagy may act as a protective pathway for the neuronal cell bodies in the cerebral cortex during radiofrequency exposure. The observations that neuronal cell bodies remained structurally stable but demyelination was induced in cortical neurons following prolonged RF-EMF suggests a potential cause of neurological or neurobehavioural disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28106136