Harry, G. J., Bartenbach, M., Haines, W. and Bruccoleri, A. Developmental Profiles of Growth-Associated Protein (Gap43), Ngfb, Bndf and Ntf4 mRNA Levels in the Rat Forebrain after Exposure to 60 Hz Magnetic Fields.

Fischer 344 rats were exposed to 60 Hz magnetic fields (EMFs) during gestation and lactation. Rats received continuous exposure to 2-, 200- or 1000-μT magnetic fields for 18.5 h per day, 7 days a week, or sham exposure (sham controls). During postnatal development, on postnatal days 1, 3, 6, 9, 15 and 20, forebrain tissue from male pups was examined for alterations in mRNA level for developmentally regulated central nervous system-specific proteins. Alterations in these factors during critical periods of development could result in alterations in the final neural network. Gap43 (growth-associated protein 43) mRNA was measured by Northern hybridization as a developmental indicator of axonal growth during the development of the neuron. Between postnatal days 1 and 9, detectable levels of Gap43 mRNA displayed a similar pattern across all sham control and exposure groups. In addition to Gap43, mRNA levels for the nervous system-specific growth factors ciliary neurotrophic factor (Cntf), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf), β nerve growth factor (Ngfb), neurotrophin-3 (Ntf3), and neurotrophin-4 (Ntf4) were examined by RNase protection assay. While there is public concern for developmental neurotoxicity associated with exposure to EMFs, these data, generated from animals exposed to 2-, 200- or 1000-μT magnetic fields during both gestational and lactational periods of development, suggest that under these conditions no significant alterations in these critical factors for brain development occur.

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