Effects of chronic exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on energy balance in developing rats
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- Pelletier, A., Delanaud, S., Décima, P. et al. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2013) 20: 2735. doi:10.1007/s11356-012-1266-5
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The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on the control of body energy balance in developing organisms have not been studied, despite the involvement of energy status in vital physiological functions. We examined the effects of chronic RF-EMF exposure (900 MHz, 1 V m−1) on the main functions involved in body energy homeostasis (feeding behaviour, sleep and thermoregulatory processes). Thirteen juvenile male Wistar rats were exposed to continuous RF-EMF for 5 weeks at 24 °C of air temperature (Ta) and compared with 11 non-exposed animals. Hence, at the beginning of the 6th week of exposure, the functions were recorded at Ta of 24 °C and then at 31 °C. We showed that the frequency of rapid eye movement sleep episodes was greater in the RF-EMF-exposed group, independently of Ta (+42.1 % at 24 °C and +31.6 % at 31 °C). The other effects of RF-EMF exposure on several sleep parameters were dependent on Ta. At 31 °C, RF-EMF-exposed animals had a significantly lower subcutaneous tail temperature (−1.21 °C) than controls at all sleep stages; this suggested peripheral vasoconstriction, which was confirmed in an experiment with the vasodilatator prazosin. Exposure to RF-EMF also increased daytime food intake (+0.22 g h−1). Most of the observed effects of RF-EMF exposure were dependent on Ta. Exposure to RF-EMF appears to modify the functioning of vasomotor tone by acting peripherally through α-adrenoceptors. The elicited vasoconstriction may restrict body cooling, whereas energy intake increases. Our results show that RF-EMF exposure can induce energy-saving processes without strongly disturbing the overall sleep pattern.