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Genotoxic Effects in Human Fibroblasts Exposed to Microwave Radiation

Franchini, Valeria1,2; Regalbuto, Elisa1,2; De Amicis, Andrea1; De Sanctis, Stefania1; Di Cristofaro, Sara1; Coluzzi, Elisa2; Marinaccio, Jessica2; Sgura, Antonella2; Ceccuzzi, Silvio3; Doria, Andrea3; Gallerano, Gian, Piero3; Giovenale, Emilio3; Ravera, Gian, Luca3; Bei, Roberto4; Benvenuto, Monica4; Modesti, Andrea4; Masuelli, Laura5; Lista, Florigio1

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000871

In the last decades, technological development has led to an increasing use of devices and systems based on microwave radiation. The increased employment of these devices has elicited questions about the potential long-term health consequences associated with microwave radiation exposure. From this perspective, biological effects of microwave radiation have been the focus of many studies, but the reported scientific data are unclear and contradictory. The aim of this study is to evaluate the potential genotoxic and cellular effects associated with in vitro exposure of human fetal and adult fibroblasts to microwave radiation at the frequency of 25 GHz. For this purpose, several genetic and biological end points were evaluated. Results obtained from comet assay, phosphorylation of H2AX histone, and antikinetochore antibody (CREST)-negative micronuclei frequency excluded direct DNA damage to human fetal and adult fibroblasts exposed to microwaves. No induction of apoptosis or changes in prosurvival signalling proteins were detected. Moreover, CREST analysis showed for both the cell lines an increase in the total number of micronuclei and centromere positive micronuclei in exposed samples, indicating aneuploidy induction due to chromosome loss.

1Scientific Department of Army Medical Center of Rome, Via Santo Stefano Rotondo, 4‐00184, Rome, Italy;

2University of Rome Roma Tre, Department of Science, Viale Guglielmo Marconi, 446, 00146, Rome, Italy;

3Radiation Sources, Antennas and Diagnostics Laboratory, ENEA Research Center, Frascati, Italy;

4University of Rome Tor Vergata, Department of Clinical Sciences and Translational Medicine, Rome, Italy;

5University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Experimental Medicine, Rome, Italy.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact: Valeria Franchini, University of Rome Roma Tre, Department of Science, Rome, Italy; Scientific Department of Army Medical Center, Rome, Italy; Via Santo Stefano Rotondo, 4‐00184 Roma, Italy, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 20 February 2018)

© 2018 by the Health Physics Society