935 MHz cellular phone radiation. An in vitro study of genotoxicity in human lymphocytes

L. Stronati, A. Testa, Jayne Moquet, Alan Edwards, E. Cordelli, P. Villani, C. Marino, A. Fresegna, M. Appolloni, D. Lloyd*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The possibility of genotoxicity of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) applied alone or in combination with x-rays was investigated in vitro using several assays on human lymphocytes. The chosen specific absorption rate (SAR) values are near the upper limit of actual energy absorption in localized tissue when persons use some cellular telephones. The purpose of the combined exposures was to examine whether RFR might act epigenetically by reducing the fidelity of repair of DNA damage caused by a well-characterized and established mutagen. Methods: Blood specimens from 14 donors were exposed continuously for 24 h to a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) basic 935 MHz signal. The signal was applied at two SAR; 1 and 2 W/Kg, alone or combined with a 1-min exposure to 1.0 Gy of 250 kVp x-rays given immediately before or after the RFR. The assays employed were the alkaline comet technique to detect DNA strand breakage, metaphase analyses to detect unstable chromosomal aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges, micronuclei in cytokinesis-blocked binucleate lymphocytes and the nuclear division index to detect alterations in the speed of in vitro cell cycling. Results: By comparison with appropriate sham-exposed and control samples, no effect of RFR alone could be found for any of the assay endpoints. In addition RFR did not modify any measured effects of the x-radiation. Conclusions: This study has used several standard in vitro tests for chromosomal and DNA damage in Go human lymphocytes exposed in vitro to a combination of x-rays and RFR. It has comprehensively examined whether a 24-h continuous exposure to a 935 MHz GSM basic signal delivering SAR of 1 or 2 W/Kg is genotoxic per se or whether, it can influence the genotoxicity of the well-established clastogenic agent; x-radiation. Within the experimental parameters of the study in all instances no effect from the RFR signal was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-346
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank the Information Technologies in Society Foundation, Zurich, for holding the blind coding of the experiments. The Mobile Manufacturers’ Forum and the GSM Association are thanked for financial support for this study and the University of Helsinki for administering the sponsorship and for providing an academic ‘firewall’ between the sponsors and researchers.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cellular phone
  • Genotoxicity
  • Lymphocyte
  • Radiofrequency


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