Introduction: Due to public concerns about deleterious biological consequences of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF), the potential effects of RF-EMF on the central nervous system have received wide consideration. Methods: Here, two groups of C57BL/6 mice, aged 2 and 12 months, were exposed to 1,950-MHz RF-EMF at a specific absorption rate of 5.0 W/kg for chronic periods (2 hr/day and 5 days/week for 8 months). Behavioral changes were then assessed in the mice at 10 months (sham- or RF-10M) and 20 months (sham- or RF-20M), on the open-field test, the Y-maze test, and an object recognition memory task, while biological effects were analyzed via microarray gene profiling of the hippocampus. Results: Open-field test results showed a decrease in the time duration spent at the center while there was a decrease in enhanced memory shown by the Y-maze test and the novel object recognition test in the RF-20M mice, compared to sham-exposed mice, but no significant changes in the RF-10M group. Based on a 2-fold change cutoff, the microarray data revealed that 15 genes, which are listed as being involved in neurogenesis on Gene Ontology, were altered in both groups. Quantitative real-time PCR for validation showed increased expression of Epha8 and Wnt6 in the hippocampi of RF-20M group mice, although 13 additional genes showed no significant changes following RF-EMF exposure. Conclusion: Therefore, cognitive enhancement following chronic exposure for 8 months to RF-EMF from middle age may be associated with increases in neurogenesis-related signals in the hippocampus of C57BL/6 mice.
- behavioral alteration
- gene profiling