Effect of extremely low frequency magnetic fields on cell proliferation and gene expression

Hyung Chul Lee, Mi Na Hong, Seung Hee Jung, Bong Cho Kim, Young Ju Suh, Young Gyu Ko, Yun Sil Lee, Byeong Yoon Lee, Yeun Gyu Cho, Sung Ho Myung, Jae Seon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Owing to concerns regarding possible effects of extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) on human health, many studies have been conducted to elucidate whether ELF-MF can induce modifications in biological processes. Despite this, controversies regarding effects of ELF-MF are still rife. In this study, we investigated biological effects of ELF-MF on MCF10A, MCF7, Jurkat, and NIH3T3 cell lines. ELF-MF with a magnetic flux density of 1mT at 60Hz was employed to stimulate cells for 4 or 16h, after which the effects of ELF-MF on cell proliferation, cell death, cell viability, and DNA synthesis rates were assessed. Whereas Jurkat and NIH3T3 cells showed no consistent variation in cell number, cell viability, and DNA synthesis rate, MCF10A and MCF7 cells showed consistent and significant decreases in cell number, cell viability, and DNA synthesis rates. However, there was no effect of ELF-MF on cell death in any of tested cell lines. Next, to investigate the effect of ELF-MF on gene expression, we exposed MCF7 cells to 2mT at 60Hz for 16h and examined transcriptional responses by using gene expression array. We found a gene, PMAIP1, that exhibited statistically significant variation using two-fold cut-off criteria and certified its expression change by using semi-quantitative and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. From these results, we concluded that ELF-MF could induce the delay of cell cycle progression in MCF7 and MCF10A cells in a cell context-specific manner and could up-regulate PMAIP1 in MCF7 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-516
Number of pages11
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • Cell number
  • Cell viability
  • DNA synthesis rate
  • ELF-MF
  • Expression array


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