Blood-brain barrier permeability in rats exposed to electromagnetic fields used in wireless communication

Bertil R Persson, Leif G. Salford, Arne Brun

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iological effects of radio frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) on the blood-brain barrier (BBB) have been studied in Fischer 344
rats of both sexes. The rats were not anaesthetised during the exposure. All animals were sacrificed by perfusion–fixation of the brains
under chloralhydrate anaesthesia after the exposure. The brains were perfused with saline for 3–4 minutes, and thereafter perfusion fixed
with 4% formaldehyde for 5–6 minutes. Whole coronal sections of the brains were dehydrated and embedded in paraffin and sectioned
at 5 m. Albumin and fibrinogen were demonstrated immunohistochemically and classified as normal versus pathological leakage. In
the present investigation we exposed male and female Fischer 344 rats in a Transverse Electromagnetic Transmission line chamber to
microwaves of 915 MHz as continuous wave (CW) and pulse-modulated with different pulse power and at various time intervals. The
CW-pulse power varied from 0.001 W to 10 W and the exposure time from 2 min to 960 min. In each experiment we exposed 4–6
rats with 2–4 controls randomly placed in excited and non-excited TEM-cells respectively. We have in total investigated 630 exposed
rats at various modulation frequencies and 372 controls. The frequency of pathological rats is significantly increased (p < 0:0001) from
62=372 (ratio: 0:170:02) for control rats to 244=630 (ratio: 0:390:03) in all exposed rats. Grouping the exposed animals according
to the level of specific absorbed energy (J/kg) give significant difference in all levels above 1.5 J/kg. The exposure was 915 MHz
microwaves either pulse modulated (PW) at 217 Hz with 0.57 ms pulse width, at 50 Hz with 6.6 ms pulse width or continuous wave
(CW). The frequency of pathological rats (0:17) among controls in the various groups is not significantly different. The frequency of
pathological rats was 170=481 (0:350:03) among rats exposed to pulse modulated (PW) and 74=149 (0:500:07) among rats exposed
to continuous wave exposure (CW). These results are both highly significantly different to their corresponding controls (p < 0:0001)
and the frequency of pathological rats after exposure to pulsed radiation (PW) is significantly less (p < 0:002) than after exposure to
continuous radiation (CW).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-461
JournalWireless Networks
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund (013230000), Radiation Physics, Lund (013034000), Pathology, (Lund) (013030000), Neurosurgery (013026000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Clinical Medicine
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • permeability
  • rats
  • electromagnetic
  • fields
  • wireless
  • communication


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