Microwaves from GSM Mobile Telephones Affect 53BP1 and gamma-H2AX Foci in Human Lymphocytes from Hypersensitive and Healthy Persons


Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 113, Number 9, September 2005


Eva Markovà,1,2 Lena Hillert,3,4 Lars Malmgren,5 Bertil R. R. Persson,6 and Igor Y. Belyaev1,7

1Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; 2Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Cancer Research Institute, Bratislava, Slovak Republic; 3Occupational and Environmental Health, Stockholm County Council, Stockholm, Sweden; 4Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Occupational Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; 5MAX-lab, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; 6Department of Medical Radiation Physics, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden; 7Laboratory of Radiobiology, General Physics Institute, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia

The data on biologic effects of nonthermal microwaves (MWs) from mobile telephones are diverse, and these effects are presently ignored by safety standards of the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). In the present study, we investigated effects of MWs of Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) at different carrier frequencies on human lymphocytes from healthy persons and from persons reporting hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). We measured the changes in chromatin conformation, which are indicative of stress response and genotoxic effects, by the method of anomalous viscosity time dependence, and we analyzed tumor suppressor p53-binding protein 1 (53BP1) and phosphorylated histone H2AX (-H2AX), which have been shown to colocalize in distinct foci with DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), using immunofluorescence confocal laser microscopy. We found that MWs from GSM mobile telephones affect chromatin conformation and 53BP1/-H2AX foci similar to heat shock. For the first time, we report here that effects of MWs from mobile telephones on human lymphocytes are dependent on carrier frequency. On average, the same response was observed in lymphocytes from hypersensitive and healthy subjects. Key words: 53BP1 and -H2AX foci, chromatin, DNA double-strand breaks, hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields, stress response. Environ Health Perspect 113:1172-1177 (2005). doi:10.1289/ehp.7561 available via http://dx.doi.org/ [Online 28 April 2005]

Address correspondence to I.Y. Belyaev, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. Telephone: 46-8-16-41-08. Fax: 46-8-16-43-15. E-mail: Igor.Belyaev@gmt.su.se

We thank S.D. Smith and M. Harms-Ringdahl for critical reading of the manuscript, T. Halazonetis for donation of 53BP1 antibodies, L.-E. Paulsson and G. Anger for verification of the experimental unit for exposure to microwaves, R. Sarimov for help with statistical analysis, and E. Thunberg for obtaining and coding of blood samples.

The Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, the Swedish Animal Welfare Agency, and the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority supported these studies.

The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

Received 9 September 2004; accepted 28 April 2005.

The full version of this article is available for free in HTML or PDF formats.


From FGF-Infoline 08.09.2005


Dr Igor Y. Belyaev who is one of the researchers of this study below, also participates in the WHO EMF project, but he clearly states that there are non- thermal effects, in contrast to the manager of the WHO project, and in this study one can read the criticism of the researchers on the ICNIRP standards that ignore effects below the standard.


Hopefully they will publish soon their study on 3G genetic effects that was presented in two conferences (in Prague and Russia).

Iris Atzmon.


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