Effects on Nervous Tissue of Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields

  • Hans-Arne Hansson


Results obtained in vitro or by biochemical, pharmacological and behavioral studies suggest that nervous tissue is affected by exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields. The present report summarizes research performed during the last few years mainly using light and electronmicroscopic and immunohistochemical methods.

Long term exposure of animals, i.e. rabbits, pigs, rats and mice, at moderate to high intensity electromagnetic fields (50 or 60 Hz) results in significant reactive changes in the nervous tissue. The animals were exposed either during their first four weeks after birth or during their fetal life and then up to about 4 weeks of age.

We chose the cerebellum as the structure to be studied in detail because it is very regularly organized and shows only limited variation in structure between, adjacent cells of the same type.

Both the cell body and the radiating processes of Bergmann’s glial cells showed extensive changes as did astrocytes in the granular layer and white matter. Lamellar bodies, i.e. rebuilt endoplasmic reticulum, could be seen in large number in Purkinje nerve cells from rabbit, but not in specimens from rodents. We observed cytoskeletal alterations in most Purkinje nerve cells. Thus, in principle, similar changes were induced in all animal species examined.

Immunohistochemical methods for demonstration of glial reactions enable us to confirm that central nervous tissue is significantly affected by long term exposure to power line frequency electromagnetic fields. The mechanisms causing the described changes are not known but are certainly non-thermal.


Nervous Tissue Purkinje Nerve Cell Lamellar Body Term Exposure Granular Cell Layer 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Arne Hansson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of NeurobiologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenbergSweden

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