The effect of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields on skin and thyroid amine- and peptide-containing cells in rats


The story continues...with yet a new paper:

Rajkovic V, Matavulj M, Johansson O, "The effect of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields on skin and thyroid amine- and peptide-containing cells in rats: An immunohistochemical and morphometrical study", Environ Res 2005; 99: 369-377

This paper is the continuation of a very fruitful collaboration between the Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Novi Sad, Serbia and Montenegro, and my own research group at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

Again, this paper goes back to early observations in persons with the impairment electrohypersensitivity where large increases in the cutaneous mast cell count could be demonstrated as compared to normal healthy volunteers. A corresponding effect on cutaneous mast cells from normal healthy volunteers placed in front of ordinary TVs/PCs could also be shown. As pointed out in one of my most recent mail-outs, my working hypothesis since then is that electrohypersensitivity is a kind of irradiation damage, since the observed cellular changes are very much the same as the ones you would find in tissue subjected to UV-light or ionizing radiation.

One very fierce criticism from certain 'opponents' has been that such mast cell alterations in persons with electrohypersensitivity (or in normal healthy volunteers!) can not be due to the action of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and/or airborn chemicals, but must be due to psychological or psychiatric personality disturbances, cognitive malfunction, or likewise.

The aim of this latest study was therefore to investigate the influence of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) on mast cells, parafollicular cells, and nerve fibers in rat skin and thyroid gland. The experiment was performed on 2-month-old Wistar male rats exposed for 4h a day, 7 days a week for 1 month to power-frequent (50 Hz) EMFs. After sacrifice, samples of skin and thyroid were processed for indirect immunohistochemistry or toluidine blue staining and then were analyzed using the methods of stereology. Antibody markers to serotonin, substance P, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), and protein gene product 9.5 (PGP) were applied to skin sections and PGP, CGRP, and neuropeptide Y (NPY) markers to the thyroid. A significantly increased number of serotonin-positive mast cells in the skin (p<0.05) and NPY-containing nerve fibers in the thyroid (p<0.01) of rats exposed to ELF-EMF was found compared to controls, indicating a direct EMF effect on skin and thyroid vasculature.

Again, please note that the obtained animal results can not be understood by psychological or psychiatric theories, but are claimed to be due only to the EMF exposure.

[If you want to have a reprint, please, send me an A4/C4-envelope with your name and address on]

Olle Johansson, assoc. prof.
The Experimental Dermatology Unit Department of Neuroscience Karolinska Institute
171 77 Stockholm


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