Capri, M., Scarcella, E., Fumelli, C., Bianchi, E., Salvioli, S., Mesirca, P., Agostini, C., Antolini, A., Schiavoni, A., Castellani, G., Bersani, F. and Franceschi, C. In Vitro Exposure of Human Lymphocytes to 900 MHz CW and GSM Modulated Radiofrequency: Studies of Proliferation, Apoptosis and Mitochondrial Membrane Potential. Radiat. Res. 162, 211–218 (2004).
The aim of this study was to investigate the nonthermal effects of radiofrequency (RF) fields on human immune cells exposed to a Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) signal generated by a commercial cellular phone and by a sinusoidal non-modulated signal. To assess whether mobile phone RF-field exposure affects human immune cell functions, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy donors were exposed in vitro to a 900 MHz GSM or continuous-wave (CW) RF field 1 h/day for 3 days in a transverse electromagnetic mode (TEM) cell system (70–76 mW/kg average specific absorption rate, SAR). The cells were cultured for 48 or 72 h, and the following end points were studied: (1) mitogen-induced proliferation; (2) cell cycle progression; (3) spontaneous and 2-deoxy-d-ribose (dRib)-induced apoptosis; (4) mitochondrial membrane potential modifications during spontaneous and dRib-induced-apoptosis. Data obtained from cells exposed to a GSM-modulated RF field showed a slight decrease in cell proliferation when PBMCs were stimulated with the lowest mitogen concentration and a slight increase in the number of cells with altered distribution of phosphatidylserine across the membrane. On the other hand, cell cycle phases, mitochondrial membrane potential and susceptibility to apoptosis were found to be unaffected by the RF field. When cells were exposed to a CW RF field, no significant modifications were observed in comparison with sham-exposed cells for all the end points investigated.