Carballo-Quintás M, Martínez-Silva I, Cadarso-Suárez C, Álvarez-Figueras M, Ares-Pena FJ, López-Martin, E. A study of neurotoxic biomarkers, c-fos and GFAP after acute exposure to GSM radiation at 900 MHz in the picrotoxin model of rat brains. NeuroToxicology. 32: 478-494, 2011.
Continued cell phone use has been reported to change brain activity and different biomarkers in the brain have been monitored to indicate how much the constant use of these electromagnetic devices changes brain activity and whether these changes are reversible. Epileptic patients have excitable brain activity and this group investigates what effects electromagnetic exposure has on this type of brain.
The objective of this study was to determine if acute exposure to 900MHz radiation (similar to mobile phone emissions) activates neurons and causes damage in the brains of rats. This study included using rats that were prone to epileptic seizures by treating them with a drug called picrotoxin.
Four separate groups of rats were used in the study. The first group was injected with picrotoxin and exposed to 900 MHz pulse modulated GSM radiation for 2 hours in tubes that did not allow them to move around. The second group was injected with picrotoxin and placed in the same tubes for the same period of time, but not exposed to radiation. The third group was injected with the drug solvent only (without the drug picrotoxin) and exposed to 900 MHz pulse modulated GSM radiation for 2 hours in same tubes as above. The fourth group (control group) was injected with the drug solvent (without the drug picrotoxin) and placed in the same tubes for the same period of time, but not exposed to radiation. Each of the four groups sacrificed rats at three different times during the experiment; 90 min, 24h and 3 days after rats had been immobilized in the tubes with or without radiation treatment. The rat brain tissues were analyzed for biomarkers associated with neuron excitement and brain damage.
The researchers found that the biomarkers for both neuron excitement and brain damage were activated by the combination of the drug picrotoxin and GSM radiation.
Interpretation and Limitations
The results indicate that epileptic patients could be highly sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and further studies are needed to determine whether these effects are permanent.
This study suggests that acute exposure to GSM radiation is associated with changes in neuronal activity in rat brain especially in brains pre-disposed to epileptic activity. Some of these brain tissues produce biomarkers that were precursors to damage.