Electromagnetic field affects the voltage-dependent potassium channel Kv1.3

Cecchetto C, Maschietto M, Boccaccio P, Vassanelli S. Electromagnetic field affects the voltage-dependent potassium channel Kv1.3 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Aug 12]. Electromagn Biol Med. 2020;1-7. doi:10.1080/15368378.2020.1799386


Purpose: Theoretical and experimental evidences support the hypothesis that Extremely Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields (ELF-EMF) can modulate voltage-gated channels. In this work we investigated the effect of ELF-EMF on Kv1.3, a member of the family of the voltage-gated potassium channels that is thought to be involved in key physiological functions, including the regulation of T-cells activation during the immune response.

Materials and methods: Kv1.3 expressing CHO-K1 cells were exposed to a 20 Hz electromagnetic field at two different intensities: 268 μT and 902 μT. Kv1.3 potassium currents were recorded by whole-cell patch-clamp before, during and after field exposure.

Results: We found that the Kv1.3 current was increased significantly by the ELF-EMF in a subpopulation of CHO-K1 cells. The increase developed after a few seconds from the start of exposure, reached a steady-state and took several minutes to return to the baseline after field removal.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that Kv1.3 may mediate interactions between ELF-EMF and living cells, disclosing new research opportunities on the molecular mechanisms with which electromagnetic fields affect physiological and pathological processes, including immunomodulation, inflammation and cancer.

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