Oxidative Stress – Antioxidant Defense

Clinics (Sao Paulo).  2011;66(7):1237-45.

The therapeutic effect of a pulsed electromagnetic field on the reproductive patterns of male Wistar rats exposed to a 2.45-GHz microwave field.

Kumar S, Kesari KK, Behari J.


Bioelectromagnetics Laboratory, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.



Environmental exposure to man-made electromagnetic fields has been steadily increasing with the growing demand for electronic items that are operational at various frequencies. Testicular function is particularly susceptible to radiation emitted by electromagnetic fields.


This study aimed to examine the therapeutic effects of a pulsed electromagnetic field (100 Hz) on the reproductive systems of male Wistar rats (70 days old).


The experiments were divided into five groups: microwave sham, microwave exposure (2.45 GHz), pulsed electromagnetic field sham, pulsed electromagnetic field (100 Hz) exposure, and microwave/pulsed electromagnetic field exposure. The animals were exposed for 2 hours/day for 60 days. After exposure, the animals were sacrificed, their sperm was used for creatine and caspase assays, and their serum was used for melatonin and testosterone assays.


The results showed significant increases in caspase and creatine kinase and significant decreases in testosterone and melatonin in the exposed groups. This finding emphasizes that reactive oxygen species (a potential inducer of cancer) are the primary cause of DNA damage. However, pulsed electromagnetic field exposure relieves the effect of microwave exposure by inducing Faraday currents.


Electromagnetic fields are recognized as hazards that affect testicular function by generating reactive oxygen species and reduce the bioavailability of androgen to maturing spermatozoa. Thus, microwave exposure adversely affects male fertility, whereas pulsed electromagnetic field therapy is a non-invasive, simple technique that can be used as a scavenger agent to combat oxidative stress.

Int J Radiat Biol. 2010 Aug 11. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of acute electromagnetic field exposure and movement restraint on antioxidanct system in liver, heart, kidney and plasma of Wistar rats: A preliminary report.

Martínez-Sámano J, Torres-Durán PV, Juárez-Oropeza MA, Elías-Viñas D, Verdugo-Díaz L.

Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.


Purpose: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the early effects of acute (2 h) exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF), as well as movement restraint (MR) and the combination of both on the antioxidant systems in the plasma, liver, kidney, and heart of rats.

Materials and methods: Twenty-four adult male Wistar rats were divided in two groups, restrained and unrestrained. The restrained animals were confined into an acrylic tube for 120 min. Half of the animals of each group were exposed to ELF-EMF (60 Hz, 2.4 mT) during the period of restriction. Immediately after treatment, reduced glutathione (GSH), catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) were measured in tissues.

Results: GSH concentration was significantly lower in the heart of all experimental animals when compared to the control group; furthermore, the decrease was higher in the liver of restrained animals. SOD activity was lower in the plasma of restrained and EMF exposed animals compared to unrestrained rats. There were no significant differences in CAT activity and TBARS levels among all the experimental groups vs. the control group.

Conclusion: Two hours of 60 Hz EMF exposure might immediately alter the metabolism of free radicals, decreasing SOD activity in plasma and GSH content in heart and kidney, but does not induce immediate lipid peroxidation. Oxidative stress induced by movement restraint was stronger than that produced by EMF.

Acta Biol Hung. 2010 Jun;61(2):158-67.

Effect of ELF-EMF on number of apoptotic cells; correlation with reactive oxygen species and HSP.

Garip AI, Akan Z.

Marmara University School of Medicine Department of Biophysics Istanbul Turkey. aysein9@yahoo.com


It is by now accepted that extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields ELF-EMF (0-300 Hz) affect biological systems although the mechanism has not been elucidated yet. In this study the effect of ELFEMF on the number of apoptotic cells of K562 human leukemia cell line induced or not with oxidative stress and the correlation with heat-shock protein 70 (hsp70) levels was investigated. One sample was treated with H 2 O 2 while the other was left untreated. ELF-EMF (1 mT, 50 Hz) was applied for 3 hours. ELF-EMF alone caused a decrease in the number of apoptotic cells and a slight increase in viability. However, it increased the number of apoptotic cells. In cells treated with H 2 O 2 . hsp70 and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were increased by ELF-EMF. These results show that the effect of ELF-EMF on biological systems depends on the status of the cell: while in cells not exposed to oxidative stress it is able to decrease the number of apoptotic cells by inducing an increase in hsp levels, it increases the number of apoptotic cells in oxidative stress-induced cells.

J Recept Signal Transduct Res. 2010 Jun;30(3):133-42.

Integrated approach to the mechanisms of thyroid toxins: electron transfer, reactive oxygen species, oxidative stress, cell signaling, receptors, and antioxidants.

Kovacic P, Edwards C.

Department of Chemistry, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA. pkovacic@sundown.sdsu.edu


Although considerable numbers of reviews are available on toxicity of major body organs based on electron transfer (ET), reactive oxygen species (ROS), and oxidative stress (OS), the integrated concept has been less applied to glands. This review represents an interdisciplinary approach to thyroid toxicity, involving ET, ROS, OS, cell signaling, receptors, toxicants, and beneficial effects of antioxidants (AOs). The introductory portion includes general function of the thyroid as well as the mechanism of thyroxine synthesis entailing participation of oxidative events, including the role of iodine. Various ROS, both endogenous and exogenous, are importantly involved in the diverse toxic manifestations. Discussion is centered on hydrogen peroxide and lipid peroxides. There is also treatment of receptor-ligand activity. Cell signaling participates in the various biochemical events taking place in the thyroid, both beneficial and adverse. In addition, the mechanism of cell signaling is discussed based on radicals, ET, relays, conduits, and electrochemistry. In addition to endogenous toxins, various exogenous ones are addressed, falling in diverse classes. Data indicate involvement of ET-ROS-OS in the toxic manifestations. Large numbers of reports reveal the beneficial effects of AOs in countering the toxicity, which is in accord with the mechanistic framework.

J Physiol Pharmacol. 2010 Jun;61(3):333-8.

Effects of extremely low frequency magnetic field on the parameters of oxidative stress in the heart.

Goraca A, Ciejka E, Piechota A.

Department of Cardiovascular Physiology, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland. anna.goraca@umed.lodz.pl


Increasing production of free radicals in organisms is one of the putative mechanisms by which a extremely low frequency magnetic field (ELF-MF) may affect biological systems. The present study was designated to assess if ELF-MF applied in the magnetotherapy, affects generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in heart tissue and antioxidant capacity of plasma according to its working time. The experiments were performed on 3 groups of animals: group I – control; group II – exposed to 40 Hz, 7 mT, 30 min/day for 14 days (this field is commonly applied in magnetotherapy); group III – exposed to 40 Hz, 7 mT, 60 min/day for 14 days. Control rats were housed in a separate room without exposure to ELF-MF. Immediately after the last exposure, blood was taken from the tail vein and hearts were removed under anesthesia. The effect of the exposure to ELF-MF on oxidative stress was assessed on the basis of the measurements of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)), total free sulphydryl groups (-SH groups) and reduced glutathione (GSH) concentrations in heart homogenates. The total antioxidant capacity of plasma was measured using ferric reducing ability method (FRAP). Exposure to ELF-MF (40 Hz, 7 mT, 30 min/day for 2 weeks) did not significantly alter tissue TBARS, H(2)O(2), total free -SH groups, reduced glutathione (GSH) and total antioxidant capacity of plasma. By contrast, ELF-MF with the same frequency and induction but used for 60 min/day for 14 days caused significant increase in TBARS and H(2)O(2) concentration (P<0.01) and decrease in the concentration of GSH (P<0.05) and total free -SH groups in heart homogenates. Moreover, exposure of rats to ELF-MF (40 Hz, 7 mT, 60 min/day for 2 weeks) resulted in the decrease of plasma antioxidant capacity. Our results indicate that effects of ELF-MF on ROS generation in the heart tissue and antioxidant capacity of plasma depend on its working time.

J Cell Physiol. 2009 May;219(2):334-43.

Fifty hertz extremely low-frequency magnetic field exposure elictis redox and trophic response in rat-cortical neurons.

Di Loreto S, Falone S, Caracciolo V, Sebastiani P, D’Alessandro A, Mirabilio A, Zimmitti V, Amicarelli F.

Institute for Organ Transplantation and Immunocytology (ITOI), CNR, L’Aquila, Italy.


Large research activity has raised around the mechanisms of interaction between extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MFs) and biological systems. ELF-MFs may interfere with chemical reactions involving reactive oxygen species (ROS), thus facilitating oxidative damages in living cells. Cortical neurons are particularly susceptible to oxidative stressors and are also highly dependent on the specific factors and proteins governing neuronal development, activity and survival. The aim of the present work was to investigate the effects of exposures to two different 50 Hz sinusoidal ELF-MFs intensities (0.1 and 1 mT) in maturing rat cortical neurons’ major anti-oxidative enzymatic and non-enzymatic cellular protection systems, membrane peroxidative damage, as well as growth factor, and cytokine expression pattern. Briefly, our results showed that ELF-MFs affected positively the cell viability and concomitantly reduced the levels of apoptotic death in rat neuronal primary cultures, with no significant effects on the main anti-oxidative defences. Interestingly, linear regression analysis suggested a positive correlation between reduced glutathione (GSH) and ROS levels in 1 mT MF-exposed cells. On this basis, our hypothesis is that GSH could play an important role in the antioxidant defence towards the ELF-MF-induced redox challenge. Moreover, the GSH-based cellular response was achieved together with a brain-derived neurotrophic factor over-expression as well as with the interleukin 1beta-dependent regulation of pro-survival signaling pathways after ELF-MF exposure.

Wiad Lek. 2009;62(2):81-6.

The influence of low-frequency magnetic field on plasma antioxidant capacity and heart rate.

Ciejka EB, Goraca A.

Katedra Fizjoterapii Wyzszej Szko?y Kosmetologii i Ochrony Zdrowia w Bia?ymstoku. elzbieta.ciejka@gmail.com


INTRODUCTION: Low-frequency magnetic field is widely applied as magnetotherapy in physiotherapeutic treatment. Recognition of positive and negative effects of the magnetic field has been the subject of numerous studies. Experimental studies concern, among others, the effect of this field on the heart rate and plasma antioxidant capacity. The aim of the study was to check whether a time-variable magnetic field of constant frequency and induction affects the heart rate and plasma antioxidant capacity.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The tests were performed on Spraque-Dawley rats exposed to the magnetic field of the following parameters: frequency – 40 Hz, induction – 7 mT, time of exposure – 30 and 60 minutes. The measurements of ECG and plasma antioxidant capacity expressed in the number of reduced iron ions were performed on experimental animals: before, after a single exposure and after 14 days of exposure.

RESULTS: A significant decrease of the heart rate was observed after 14 days of exposure. A variable magnetic field of the parameters: frequency – 40 Hz, induction – 7 mT and exposure time of 14 days caused an increase of the organism antioxidant defence, whereas a variable magnetic field of the frequency of 40 Hz, induction – 7 mT and exposure time 60 minutes for 14 days caused a significant decrease of the organism antioxidant defence.

CONCLUSIONS: The exposure time affects heart rate, plasma antioxidant capacity and the organism defense ability against free radicals.

Sci Total Environ. 2009 Feb 1;407(4):1326-32. Epub 2008 Nov 22.

Antioxidants alleviate electric field-induced effects on lung tissue based on assays of heme oxygenase-1, protein carbonyl content, malondialdehyde, nitric oxide, and hydroxyproline.

Güler G, Türközer Z, Ozgur E, Seyhan N.

Department of Biophysics, Medical Faculty & Gazi Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection Center (GNRK), Gazi University, Besevler, 06500, Ankara, Turkey. gozturk@gazi.edu.tr


In order to test whether antioxidants have beneficiary effects on electric field induced damage, we determined the pulmonary levels of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), protein carbonyl content (PCO), malondialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NO) and hydroxyproline (HP) under extremely low frequency (ELF) electric (E) field exposure (50 Hz, 12 kV/m, 7 days/for 8 h/day). While PCO levels significantly increased (p<0.05), insignificant changes (p>0.05) were observed in HO-1, MDA, NO and HP levels for electric field exposure groups compared to the control group. We have not observed any significant change in these parameters on the electric field group compared to the group where NAC and EGCG were separately applied along with electric field. However, during our previous studies, we have concluded that NAC and EGCG are potent antioxidants and we believe that new studies should be established by way of setting up different experimental conditions.

Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2008 Oct;45(5):326-31.

Effects of various extremely low frequency magnetic fields on the free radical processes, natural antioxidant system and respiratory burst system activities in the heart and liver tissues.

Canseven AG, Coskun S, Seyhan N.

Department of Biophysics, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey. canseven@gazi.edu.tr


Magnetic fields (MFs) can affect biological systems by increasing the release of free radicals that are able to alter cell defense systems and breakdown tissue homeostasis. In the present study, the effects of extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) were investigated on free radical levels, natural antioxidant systems and respiratory burst system activities in heart and liver tissues of guinea pigs exposed to 50 Hz MFs of 1, 2 and 3 mT for 4 h/day and 8 h/day for 5 days by measuring malondialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NO), glutathione (GSH) levels and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity. A total of sixty-two male guinea pigs, 10-12 weeks old were studied in seven groups as control and exposure groups: Group I (control), II (1 mT, 4 h/day), III (1 mT, 8 h/day), IV (2 mT, 4 h/day), V (2 mT, 8 h/day), VI (3 mT, 4 h/day), and VII (3 mT, 8 h/day). Controls were kept under the same conditions without any exposure to MF. MDA levels increased in liver in groups II and IV, but decreased in group VII for both liver and heart tissues. NOx levels declined in heart in groups II and III and in liver in groups III, V, and VI, but increased in liver in group VII. GSH levels increased in heart in groups II, IV, V, and in liver in groups V and VI and VI, but decreased in groups II and IV in liver. MPO activity decreased in liver in groups III, IV, VI and VII with respect to controls and in heart tissues in groups II, III and IV; however, there was a significant increase MPO activity in heart in group VII. From the results, it can be concluded that the intensity and exposure duration of MFs are among the effective conditions on the formation of free radicals and behaviour of antioxidant enzymes.

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2004 Jan 23;73(1-2):43-8.

Effects of extremely low frequency magnetic field on the antioxidant defense system in mouse brain: a chemiluminescence study.

Lee BC, Johng HM, Lim JK, Jeong JH, Baik KY, Nam TJ, Lee JH, Kim J, Sohn UD, Yoon G, Shin S, Soh KS.

School of Physics, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, San 56-1, Shillim-dong, Kwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742, South Korea. donlee@phya.snu.ac.kr


Among the putative mechanisms, by which extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic field (MF) may affect biological systems is that of increasing free radical life span in organisms. To test this hypothesis, we investigated whether ELF (60 Hz) MF can modulate antioxidant system in mouse brain by detecting chemiluminescence and measuring superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in homogenates of the organ. Compared to sham exposed control group, lucigenin-initiated chemiluminescence in exposed group was not significantly increased. However, lucigenin-amplified t-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP)-initiated brain homogenates chemiluminescence, was significantly increased in mouse exposed to 60 Hz, MF, 12 G for 3 h compared to sham exposed group. We also measured SOD activity, that plays a critical role of the antioxidant defensive system in brain. In the group exposed to 60 Hz, MF, 12 G for 3 h, brain SOD activity was significantly increased. These results suggest that 60 Hz, MF could deteriorate antioxidant defensive system by reactive oxygen species (ROS), other than superoxide radicals. Further studies are needed to identify the kind of ROS generated by the exposure to 60 Hz, MF and elucidate how MF can affect biological system in connection with oxidative stress.