Protective Effects of Zinc on 2.45 GHz Electromagnetic Radiation-Induced Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis in HEK293 Cells


Several epidemiological studies have shown that exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) can be harmful to human health. The purpose of this study was to examine oxidative parameters and apoptosis induced by EMR in human kidney embryonic cells (HEK293) and to investigate whether zinc (Zn) has protective effect on EMR-induced apoptosis in HEK293 cells. For our experiment, HEK293 cells were divided into four main groups, control, EMR, 50 μM Zn + EMR, and 100 μM Zn + EMR. HEK293 cells of EMR groups were exposed to 2.45 GHz EMR for 1 h. In Zn groups, HEK293 cells were incubated with different concentrations of Zn for 48 h before EMR exposure. Oxidative stress parameters were determined by spectrophotometric method; bcl-2 and caspase-3 were assessed immunohistochemically and TUNEL method was performed for apoptotic activity. EMR group had higher malondialdehyde (MDA) level and lower superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity compared with control group. In Zn-applied groups, MDA was decreased and SOD activity was increased compared with EMR group. The number of the apoptotic cells and caspase-3 immunopositive cells at EMR group was increased significantly compared with the control group, whereas bcl-2 was decreased. Besides, Zn-treated groups showed a significant reduction in the number of apoptotic cells and caspase-3 from that of EMR group, whereas there was an increase in bcl-2 immunopositivity. Our findings show that EMR caused oxidative stress and apoptotic activation in HEK293 cells. Zn seems to have protective effects on the EMR by increasing SOD activity and bcl-2 immunopositivity, decreasing lipid peroxidation and caspas-3 immunopositivity.

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Financial Support

The present work was supported by the Research Fund of Istanbul University (Project No. 51182 and 24619).

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Correspondence to Nural Pastacı Özsobacı.

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This study was partly presented as oral presentation at 16th International Symposium on Trace Elements in Man and Animals (TEMA - 16), 12th Conference of the International Society for Trace Element Research in Humans (ISTERH - 2017) and 13th Conference of the Nordic Trace Element Society (NTES – 2017).

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Özsobacı, N.P., Ergün, D.D., Tunçdemir, M. et al. Protective Effects of Zinc on 2.45 GHz Electromagnetic Radiation-Induced Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis in HEK293 Cells. Biol Trace Elem Res 194, 368–378 (2020).

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  • Zinc
  • Electromagnetic radiation
  • Apoptosis
  • Oxidative stress
  • HEK293