Low-Frequency-Dependent Magnetic Field Effects in Biological Systems and the Radical Pair Mechanism



A possible mechanism for low-frequency-dependent effects of oscillating magnetic fields (f ≈ 1–1,000 Hz) on radical pair recombination kinetics in biological systems has been proposed (Walleczek, 1995). Others have argued against the possibility of such effects, because of the different time scales involved; radical pair recombination takes place in the nanosecond time domain, compared to the millisecond time scale of the low-frequency magnetic field oscillations (e.g., Brocklehurst and McLauchlan, 1996; Valberg et al., 1997). This contribution reviews recent theoretical evidence in support of the hypothesis that time-varying magnetic fields may lead to biological responses by initial interactions with spin-correlated radical pairs in dependence on the field frequency.


Static Magnetic Field Pulse Magnetic Field Magnetic Field Effect Radical Pair Mechanism Millisecond Time Scale 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Brocklehurst B. and McLauchlan, K.A., 1996, Free radical mechanism for the effects of environmental magnetic fields on biological systems, Int. J. Radial. Biol. 69:3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Eichwald, C., and Walleczek, J., 1996, Model for magnetic field effects on radical pair recombination in enzyme kinetics, Biophys. J. 71:623.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Eichwald, C. and Walleczek, J., 1996, Activation-dependent and biphasic electromagnetic field effects: model based on cooperative enzyme kinetics in cellular signaling. Bioelectromagnetics 17:427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Eichwald, C. and Walleczek, J., 1997, Low-frequency-dependent effects of oscillating magnetic fields on radical recombination in enzyme kinetics, J. Cheri. Phys.,107:4943.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Grissom, C.B., 1995, Magnetic field effects in biology: a survey of possible mechanisms with emphasis on radical-pair recombination. Chem. Rev. 95:3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Harkins, T.T. and Grissom, C.B., 1994. Magnetic field effects on Bl2 ethanolamine ammonia lyase: evidence for a radical mechanism, Science 263:958.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Taraban M.B., Leshina, T.V., Anderson, M.A., and Grissom, C.B., 1997, Magnetic field dependence of electron transfer and the role of electron spin in heme enzymes: horseradish peroxidase, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 119:5768.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Valberg, P, Kavet, R, and Rafferty C.N., 1997. Can low-level 50/60 Hz electric and magnetic fields cause biological effects?, Radial. Res. 148:2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Walleczek, J.,and Budinger, T.F., 1992, Pulsed magnetic field effects on calcium signaling in lymphocytes: dependence on cell status and field intensity, FEBS Lett. 314: 361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Walleczek, J.,1992, Electromagnetic field effects on cells of the immune system: the role of calcium signaling, FASER J. Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Walleczek, J., 1995. Magnetokinetic effects on radical pairs: a paradigm for magnetic field interactions with biological systems at lower than thermal energy, in: Advances in Chemistry No. 250 - Electromagnetic Fields: Biological Interactions and Mechanisms. M. Blank, ed., American Chemical Society, Washington DC.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bioelectromagnetics Laboratory Department of Radiation OncologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

Personalised recommendations