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Does mobile phone radiation induce changes in cells of the
hematopoietic system in vitro?

Von Dr. Henning Hintzsche (09.07.2014)

Mobile phones are used worldwide to a huge amount and the number is still increasing. Therefore questions concerning electromagnetic radiation and its potential to affect biological systems at low intensity levels are of great and current interest. Although many studies have been performed to investigate this issue no complete consensus has been reached so far. Most of the investigations do not indicate a harmful potential of this radiation. Two main questions remain open, concerning long-term effects and specific effects on children. It has been demonstrated that in comparison to adults, children absorb far higher doses of mobile phone radiation in the skull, particularly in the bone marrow, where hematopoiesis takes place. These absorptions might occasionally exceed the recommended safety limits. According to these questions, the aim of this study is to elucidate, whether cells of the hematopoietic system can be affected by different forms of mobile phone radiation.

Hintzsche: Fig. 1[Bildunterschrift / Subline]: Radiation absorption in children (Christ et al., Phys. Med. Biol. 55 (2010) 1767–1783)

As biological system, two cell types are investigated, HL-60 cells as an established cell line, and hematopoietic stem cells. Cells are irradiated at frequencies of the major technologies, GSM (900 MHz), UMTS (1.950 MHz), and LTE (2.535 MHz). LTE modulation is now commonly applied but has not been studied sufficiently so far. The exposure takes place for a short and a long period and with different intensities ranging from 0 to 4 W/kg. Studied endpoints include apoptosis, cell cycle, differentiation, DNA damage, DNA repair, epigenetics, and oxidative stress.
Results of irradiated HL-60 cells did not reveal any changes in the examined endpoints, neither after short-term nor after long-term exposure. The same was observed for the hematopoietic stem cells.
Apart from the exposure with non-ionizing radiation, cells are also treated with different chemicals as positive controls. The comparison of the HL-60 cells and the hematopoietic stem cells regarding their response kinetics and amount will shed light on specific mechanisms of damage induction and repair in human hematopoietic stem cells.

Scientific career
  • 2001-2006
  • Study of Pharmacy, Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
  • 2008-2011
  • Doctorate, Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Würzburg
  • since 2011
  • Member of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Würzburg (since 2014: group leader)

Scholarships and Awards
  • * DAAD-Scholarship for stay in Venezuela (2007)
  • * Research scholarship, Erich-Becker-Stiftung (2009)
  • * Platform Competition Award Bioelectromagnetics Society (2010)
  • * Young Scientist Award der Microwave Applications Society of India (2011)
  • * Award for young scientists of the Society for Environmental Mutagen Research (2012)