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Histological changes in albino rat hippocampus following postnatal exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic field emitted from mobile phones

Hussein Abd El Raouf, Hoda H.; Mohammed Ali, Mona H.

The Egyptian Journal of Histology: June 2015 - Volume 38 - Issue 2 - p 253–265
doi: 10.1097/01.EHX.0000464783.65190.9e
Original articles

Background The exponential growth of personal telecommunication devices has become a topic of discussion. With increasing use of mobile phones by children and teenagers, concerns have been raised about their safety, especially on the central nervous system.

Aim This work aimed at assessing the histological changes in the hippocampus of adult male albino rats that might result from chronic postnatal exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted from mobile phones.

Materials and methods Forty newly born male rats were divided randomly into two equal groups: the control group and the mobile phone-exposed group. The exposed group was exposed to an electromagnetic field in the range used for mobile telecommunication (900–1800 MHz) from postnatal day 0 to postnatal day 120. At the end of the experimental period, the animals were sacrificed and hippocampi were extracted. The right hippocampi were prepared for light microscopic examination and stained with H&E, glial fibrillary acidic protein, tumor necrosis factor α, and B-cell lymphoma 2 stains. The left hippocampi were processed for transmission electron microscopic examination.

Results The hippocampi of the mobile phone-exposed group revealed disorganized, degenerated shrunken neurons surrounded by large vacuolated pericellular spaces, with darkly stained nuclei. Multiple vacuolations, numerous astrocytes, and microglial cells were also evident. An apparent increase in the number and size of star-shaped glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactive cells, increase in the color intensity of tumor necrosis factor α immunoreaction, and intensely immunostained B-cell lymphoma 2 apoptotic cells were seen in the mobile phone-exposed group compared with the control group.

Conclusion This study demonstrated that neurodegeneration in rat hippocampus could be due to chronic postnatal exposure to electromagnetic fields. It is recommended to limit the use of mobile phones, especially at a young age.

Human Anatomy and Embryology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt

Correspondence to Mona H. Mohammed Ali, MD, Human Anatomy and Embryology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt Tel: +20 100 682 3131; e-mail:

Received May 7, 2014

Accepted March 29, 2015

© 2015 The Egyptian Journal of Histology
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