McQuade, J. M., Merritt, J. H., Miller, S. A., Scholin, T., Cook, M. C., Salazar, A., Rahimi, O. B., Murphy, M. R. and Mason, P. A. Radiofrequency-Radiation Exposure Does Not Induce Detectable Leakage of Albumin Across the Blood-Brain Barrier. Radiat. Res. 171, 615–621 (2009).
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) consists of tight junctions between the endothelial cells that line the capillaries in the central nervous system. This structure protects the brain, and neurological damage could occur if it is compromised. Several publications by researchers at Lund University have reported alterations in the BBB after exposure to low-power 915 MHz energy. These publications increased the level of concern regarding the safety of wireless communication devices such as mobile phones. We performed a confirmation study designed to determine whether the BBB is altered in rats exposed in a transverse electromagnetic (TEM) transmission line cell to 915 MHz energy at parameters similar to those in the Lund University studies. Unanesthetized rats were exposed for 30 min to either continuous-wave or modulated (16 or 217 Hz) 915 MHz energy at power levels resulting in whole-body specific absorption rates (SARs) of 0.0018–20 W/kg. Albumin immunohistochemistry was performed on perfused brain tissue sections to determine the integrity of the BBB. Chi-square analysis revealed no significant increase in albumin extravasation in any of the exposed animals compared to the sham-exposed or home cage control animals.