Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields and Ionizing Radiation on Amyloid Precursor Protein Processing and Cell Death

Kyeonghee Yoon, Sojung Choi, Hyung Do Choi, Nam Kim, Sang Bong Jeon, Kyung Min Lim, Hae June Lee, Yun Sil Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The growing concerns regarding the adverse biological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs), which are generated by common electronic devices, on the human brain led us to investigate their impact on Alzheimer's disease (AD). We aimed to establish the effects of RF-EMF on the expression of molecular markers associated with amyloid precursor protein (APP), cell death, and clonogenic survival in HT22 and APP-overexpressing 7w-PSML cells. We compared the effects of RF-EMF at a high specific absorption rate (SAR) level with the neuronal-cell-death-inducing effects of ionizing radiation (IR). RF-EMF exposure (8 W/kg SAR) promoted the protein expression of ADAM10 (α-secretase) in the HT22 cells (p < 0.05) and downregulated the APP mRNA level in the 7w-PSML cells (p < 0.01). In contrast, IR (10 Gy) significantly reduced the APP and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10 (ADAM10) levels without altering their respective mRNA levels in these cells. Interestingly, IR exposure significantly upregulated BACE1 (β-secretase) at both the protein and mRNA levels, suggesting adverse effects in AD. IR induced cell death and reduced clonogenic survival in both cell lines. Although RF-EMF (high SAR level) influenced APP processing, it did not induce any deleterious change in either cell line. Thus, further studies are necessary to clarify the influence of RF-EMF on AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-319
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Electromagnetic Engineering and Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the ICT R&D program of MSIT/IITP (No. 2017-0-00961, Study on the EMF Exposure Control in Smart Society; No. 2019-0-00102, A Study on Public Health and Safety in a Complex EMF Environment). We thank Professor Inhee Mook-Jung for providing the 7w-PSML cell line.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020. The Korean Institute of Electromagnetic Engineering and Science. All Rights Reserved.


  • Amyloid Protein Precursor Processing
  • Cell Death
  • Ionizing Radiation
  • RF-EMF


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