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The Environmentalist

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 577–583 | Cite as

Immune stimulation in fish and chicken through weak low frequency electromagnetic fields

  • J. J. M. Cuppen
  • G. F. Wiegertjes
  • H. W. J. Lobee
  • H. F. J. Savelkoul
  • M. A. Elmusharaf
  • A. C. Beynen
  • H. N. A. Grooten
  • W. Smink
Article

Abstract

A hypothesis is proposed how Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field (LF EMF) exposure can stimulate an immune response, based on recent insights in immunology. We hypothesize that the Immunent EMF treatment induces mild stress to cells, which then produce cytokines that function as alarms or so called danger signals for the immune system. In this way EMF treatment takes the place of multiplying pathogens, and the damage these cause, in the triggering of an immune response. In a first series of experiments in␣vitro common carp head kidney-derived phagocytes were used to determine ROS production as a measure for immune activation. Exposure to LF EMF signals (200–5,000 Hz) at 5 μT or 1.5 mT led to 42 or 33% increase in immune activity, respectively, compared to negative control values. EMF could also additionally stimulate chemically pre-stimulated samples up to 18% (5 μT) or 22% (1.5 mT). Significance of increase in ROS production in the total series was: p < 0.0001. In a second series of experiments in␣vitro commercial goldfish were used. Groups of fish were housed under equal conditions in at least four control tanks and 8–16 EMF-exposed tanks. Exposure was done with a predominantly vertical field at field strengths (rms) between 0.15 and 50 μT. Without treatment mortality was about 50% after 18 days, while the treatment at 5 μT reduced it to 20% on average. At field strengths 0.15, 0.5, 1.5, 5, 15 and 50 μT an equally strong effect was found. Reducing the field strength to 0.05, 0.06, 0.01 and 0.003 μT showed a gradually decreasing effect, which only at 0.003 μT is no longer statistically significant. Finally, in␣vitro experiments were done with 560 commercial broiler chickens exposed to infection pressure from coccidiosis. EMF exposure at 6.5 μT reduced intestinal lesions by 40% and improved feed conversion by 8%.

Keywords

Immune stimulation EMF ELF Electromagnetic fields Feed conversion 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. J. M. Cuppen
    • 1
  • G. F. Wiegertjes
    • 2
  • H. W. J. Lobee
    • 1
  • H. F. J. Savelkoul
    • 2
  • M. A. Elmusharaf
    • 3
  • A. C. Beynen
    • 3
  • H. N. A. Grooten
    • 4
  • W. Smink
    • 4
  1. 1.Immunent BVVeldhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Wageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.FIS BVUtrechtThe Netherlands

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