Misek J, Veterník M, Tonhajzerova I, Jakusova V, Janousek L, Jakus J. Radiofrequency electromagnetic field affects heart rate variability in rabbits. Physiol Res. 2020 Aug 31;69(4):633-643. doi: 10.33549/physiolres.934425. Epub 2020 Jul 16. PMID: 32672045.
The aim of this study was to assess the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF EMF) on heart rate variability (HRV) in rabbits with intensity slightly exceeding the limits for occupations. Totally 21 New Zealand white rabbits divided into two groups were used in this double-blind study. The first group of animals without general anesthesia was subjected to HRV examination under exposure to a device generated RF EMF source (frequency 1788 MHz, intensity 160 V/m, lasting 150 min.). The second group (premedications + alpha chloralose mg/kg) underwent the same protocol under the exposure to the real RF EMF signal from the base stations of mobile providers (frequency range 1805 – 1870 MHz – corresponding to the downlink signal of Slovak mobile providers, 160 V/m, 150 min., respectively). Individual 5 min records were used to analyze the HRV parameters: heart rate and root Mean Square of the Successive Differences (rMSSD) for time domain analysis and spectral powers in the low (LF-VFS) and high frequency (HF-VFS) bands for frequency domain analysis. Our study revealed the increased in HRV parameters (HF-HRV, rMSSD) associated with lower heart rate indicating increased cardiac vagal control under the exposure to RF EMF in experimental methods.
Limitations of the study
In this study, only within-groups comparison is used due to differences in used methodology regarding the effect of anesthesia on cardiovascular control.
Therefore, the between-groups comparison could provide additional important information. Moreover, differences in animal species should be taken into account, therefore, the application of these findings to human medicine is still limited.
Of note, it would be necessary to extend the recovery time after the exposure in future research. The 30 min. was shown as a short time to observe the animals’ recovery. The lack of monitoring of arterial blood pressure during the exposure and the SAR parameter, which was not calculated, could also be considered.
Our study revealed the increased HRV parameters (HF-HRV, rMSSD) associated with lower heart rate indicating increased cardiac vagal control under the exposure to RF EMF in experimental methods. We suggest that our findings can serve as a basis for understanding of the pathomechanisms leading to RF EMF linked altered complex heart rate autonomic control in human medicine. Notably, the higher vagal activity could be associated with increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias leading to sudden death, therefore, this issue seems be very important.