Nonthermal GSM RF and ELF EMF effects upon rat BBB permeability

Henrietta Nittby, Arne Brun, Susanne Strömblad, Mehri Kaviani Moghadam, Wenjun Sun, Lars Malmgren, Jacob Eberhardt, Bertil R. Persson, Leif G. Salford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


Since the late 1980s, our group has examined the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF), including pulse-modulated waves of the type emitted by mobile phones, upon the blood-brain barrier. In more than 2,000 rats, we have repeatedly demonstrated a passage of the rats' own albumin from the blood through the brain capillaries into the surrounding brain parenchyma at SAR values down to 0.1mW/kg. In most of these experiments, the animals were exposed in TEM-cells, ventilated by an external electrical fan at 50 Hz. In the present study, we examined whether the extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields from the fan (50 Hz, 0.3-1.5 μT) might add to the RF effect. Sixty-four rats were divided into 4 groups: RF only, ELF only and RF + ELF exposure plus a sham group. The GSM-900 MHz RF exposure was at the very low, nonthermal, average whole-body SAR level 0.4 mW/kg. Demonstration of the normally occurring albumin extravasation in the basal hypothalamus is our inbuilt control proving that the staining is reliable. Two full series of staining of the whole material gave negative results for hypothalamus. Not until we changed to avidin, biotin, and antibodies from a third supplier, we received an acceptable staining. Twenty-five percent of the RF animals had a pathological albumin leakage, while the ELF and RF + ELF groups with three and two pathological findings, respectively, were not significantly different from the control group. We conclude that the use of external fans has had no major influence upon the result.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-148
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Basic Medicine


  • Albumin
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Electromagnetic field
  • Histopathology
  • Mobile phone
  • Rat


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