Immunotoxicity of radiofrequency radiation (Review paper)
Himanshi Yadav, Radhey Shyam Sharma, Rajeev Singh. Immunotoxicity of radiofrequency radiation. Environmental Pollution. 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2022.119793.
• Drastic growth in communication technologies increased RFR exposure in environment
• Recent evidences show close relation among radiation sensitivity and immune effects
• An intracellular signaling cascade responsible for RFR action on immune system is suggested
• A better understanding of RFR linked cell effects might help radiation protection
• Urgent need to recognize probable hazards of using RFR emitting devices in excess
Growing evidence recommends that radiofrequency radiations might be a new type of environmental pollutant. The consequences of RFR on the human immune system have gained considerable interest in recent years, not only to examine probable negative effects on health but also to understand if RFR can modulate the immune response positively. Although several studies have been published on the immune effects of RFR but no satisfactory agreement has been reached. Hence this review aims to evaluate the RFR modulating impacts on particular immune cells contributing to various innate or adaptive immune responses. In view of existing pieces of evidence, we have suggested an intracellular signaling cascade responsible for RFR action. The bio-effects of RFR on immune cell morphology, viability, proliferation, genome integrity, and immune functions such as ROS, cytokine secretion, phagocytosis, apoptosis, etc. are discussed. The majority of existing evidence point toward the possible shifts in the activity, number, and/or function of immunocompetent cells, but the outcome of several studies is still contradictory and needs further studies to reach a conclusion. Also, the direct association of experimental studies to human risks might not be helpful as exposure parameters vary in real life. On the basis of recent available literature, we suggest that special experiments should be designed to test each particular signal utilized in communication technologies to rule out the hypothesis that longer exposure to RFR emitting devices would affect the immunity by inducing genotoxic effects in human immune cells.
I. Till date, the bulk of available research articles remarkably indicated the RFR-induced changes in innate and adaptive immune responses. The morphological and physiological modulations in the immune cells were reported such as variation in viability, gene and protein expression, generation of ROS, induction of DNA damage, stimulation of inflammatory markers, altered normal immune functions and eventually provoking inflammatory reactions, chronic allergic reactions, autoimmune responses leading to damaged tissues and organs.
II. The oxidative stress via causing free radical damage to DNA appears to be the main mechanism for RFR action.
III. Many RFR studies showed conflicting conclusions because of the scarcity of subjects, variations in distance from the radiation source, exposure time, RFR frequency, mode of modulation, SAR, or power density used in various studies. Furthermore, studies even with the same experimental design showed varied responses in different types of cells.
IV. On the other hand, the findings from in vitro and in vivo studies on RFR should not be directly linked to human mobile phone usage as the duration and level of exposure to radiofrequency radiation were much higher in experimental studies as compared to what people experience with even high cell phone usage.
V. Collectively, in view of discussed limitations, the available research studies might not be enough to understand the RFR effect on the immune system.
VI. Since, the controversies exist in the recent literature on the effects of RFR on immune cell physiology, substantially more coordinated and detailed studies are needed to set up a definitive trend in RFR effects on immune cells. Such studies are also required to address the important issues of safety for the usage of technologies like cell phones and wireless equipment that are used increasingly in our everyday lives and to revise the current EMF public safety limits.
Immunity and Electromagnetic Fields (Review paper)
Piotr Piszczek, Karolina Wójcik-Piotrowicz, Krzysztof Gil, Jolanta Kaszuba-Zwoińska.
Immunity and electromagnetic fields.
Environ Res. 2021 Jun 11;111505. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111505.
Despite many studies, the question about the positive or negative influence of electromagnetic fields (EMF) on living organisms still remains an unresolved issue. To date, the results are inconsistent and hardly comparable between different laboratories. The observed bio-effects are dependent not only on the applied EMF itself, but on many other factors such as the model system tested or environmental ones. In an organism, the role of the defense system against external stressors is played by the immune system consisting of various cell types. The immune cells are engaged in many physiological processes and responsible for the proper functioning of the whole organism. Any factor with an ability to cause immunomodulatory effects may weaken or enhance the response of the immune system. This review is focused on a wide range electromagnetic fields as a possible external factor which may modulate the innate and/or adaptive immunity. Considering the existing databases, we have compiled the bio-effects evoked by EMF in particular immune cell types involved in different types of immune response, with the common mechanistic models and mostly activated intracellular signaling cascade pathways.
• Immune system cells are influenced by exposure to EMFs.
• EMFs might modulate effector activities of immune response.
• Bio-effectiveness is related to the frequency range of EMFs and cell types.
• Cellular changes might be enhanced by synergic effects of EMFs and other stressors.
"The theoretical approaches most frequently cited in the literature are based on concepts such as resonant absorption (Blanchard and Blackman, 1994; Engström, 1996), effects on bio-molecules with magnetic properties (Kirschvink, 1992; Pall, 2013; Yamagashi et al., 1992), ionic transport (Gartzke and Lange, 2002; Panagopoulos et al., 2002) and modulation of Ca2+-dependent signaling pathways (Liboff et al., 2003; Pilla, 2012), radical pair mechanism (RPM), and reactive oxygen species (ROS) chemistry (Eveson et al., 2000; Mattsson and Simkó, 2014; Tang et al., 2016)....
it is extremely difficult to select an intracellular mechanism that
could play a dominant role in viability and/or effector activities
modulation of various types of immune cells under EMF exposure in a wide
range of parameters. The large number of results obtained for various
EMF parameters and experimental conditions do not allow for a simple
comparison of findings across different laboratories. Nevertheless, most of the studies are in agreement that:
(i) there is no generally accepted physical and/or biological mechanism of EMF action independently on type of the studies (i.e., in vivo/in vitro);
(ii) there is lack of conclusive evidence of EMF genotoxic effects;
(iii) findings concerning intracellular effects such as EMF-induced modulation of: gene expression, heat-shock proteins level, surface of cell membrane and cell morphology, signal transduction pathways, ions homeostasis and level of ROS [reactive oxygen species] cannot be excluded;
(iv) significant bio-effects are noticed for simultaneous EMF exposure with other cell stimuli (synergic effects);
(v) the response of various immune cells differs in an EMF type-dependent manner;
(vi) multidirectional research on immune cell cultures are certainly needed to be continued to understand potential risk of EMF exposure;
(vii) the influence of EMF on the innate immunity seems to be interesting issue in the context of aging process (Pawelec et al., 2020).
summary, EMF seem to be a promising tool for modulation of various
immune cell signaling pathways and immune system responses. Moreover,
the studies concerning the action of electromagnetic fields alone or
combined with medicaments are embedded in the mainstream of interests of
EMF-related research in medicine and health care."
Mar 18, 2020
The following paper on the effects on the immune system from exposure to radio frequency radiation consists of excerpts from a research review published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2013 by Dr. Stanislaw Szmigielski.
of the Immune System to Low-Level RF/MW Exposures
S. Reaction of the immune system to low-level RF/MW exposures. Science of the
Total Environment. 2013 Jun 1; 454-455:393-400. doi:
(RF) and microwave (MW) radiation have been used in the modern world for many
years. The rapidly increasing use of cellular phones in recent years has seen
increased interest in relation to the possible health effects of exposure to
RF/MW radiation. In 2011 a group of international experts organized by the IARC
(International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon) concluded that RF/MW
radiations should be listed as a possible carcinogen (group 2B) for humans. The
incomplete knowledge of RF/MW-related cancer risks has initiated searches for
biological indicators sensitive enough to measure the "weak biological
influence" of RF/MWs. One of the main candidates is the immune system,
which is able to react in a measurable way to discrete environmental stimuli.
this review, the impacts of weak RF/MW fields, including cell phone radiation,
on various immune functions, both in
vitro [cell culture studies] and in
vivo [live animal studies], are discussed. The bulk of available evidence
clearly indicates that various shifts in the number and/or activity of immunocompetent
cells [cells that can develop an immune response] are possible, however the
results are inconsistent. For example, a number of lymphocyte [small white
blood cells especially found in the lymphatic system] functions have been found
to be enhanced and weakened within single experiments based on exposure to
similar intensities of MW radiation.
premises exist which indicate that, in general, short-term exposure to weak MW
radiation may temporarily stimulate certain humoral* or cellular immune
functions, while prolonged irradiation inhibits the same functions.
Jauchem (2008) reviewed the effects of RF/MW radiation on the immune system and
concluded that although both positive and negative findings were reported in
some studies, in a majority of instances no significant health effects were
found. However, most studies had some methodological limitations. Some changes
in immunoglobulin levels and in peripheral blood lymphocytes were reported in
different studies of radar and radio/television-transmission workers
(Moszczyński et al., 1999).”
effects of RF/MW exposure in in vitro studies
“In summary, it
may be concluded that non-thermal intensities of RF/MW radiation may exert
certain measurable effects and shifts in physiology of immunocompetent cells,
however these effects appear to be weak, inconsistent and difﬁcult to
replicate. Among other stress reactions, induction of heat-shock proteins,
altered reaction of lymphocytes to mitogens, weaken phagocytosis and/or
bactericidal activity of macrophages were reported after in vitro exposure of
isolated cells to arbitrarily chosen conditions of the exposure (frequency and
modulation of the RF/MW radiation, power density, time and schedule of exposure,
performed in our laboratories (Dąbrowski et al., 2003; Stankiewicz et al.,
2006, 2010) it may be concluded that in vitro effects of non-thermal RF/MWs
cannot be revealed using basic tests for assessment of function of
immunocompetent cells (including typical microculture of lymphocytes with mitogen
stimulation) and ﬁner techniques (e.g., immunogenic activity of monocytes (LM
index), T-cell suppressive activity (SAT index) or release of cytokines in
microcultures of PBMC) are required to study the effects of RF/MW exposures.
Nevertheless, nothing can be concluded on thresholds of the above phenomena,
their mechanisms or relevance to health risks. None of the above discussed
studies provides data which can be directly or indirectly linked to cancer development
Effects of in
vivo RF/MW exposures on function of the immune system
studies of immune reactions in animals exposed to MWs provide controversial
results with some papers reporting no measurable response, while in others positive
results were obtained. The available bulk of evidence from numerous
experimental studies in vivo aimed to assess the effects of short-term and
prolonged low-level MW exposure on function and status of the immune system
clearly indicates that various shifts in number and/or activity of
immunocompetent cells are possible. However, the results are incoherent; the
same functions of lymphocytes are reported to be weaken[ed] or enhanced in
single experiments with MW exposures at similar intensities and radiation
parameters. There exist premises that in general, short-term exposure to weak
MWs may temporarily stimulate certain humoral or cellular immune functions,
while prolonged irradiation inhibits the same functions (Grigoriev et al.,
2010). There exist papers which report changes in NK [natural killer] cell
activity or TNF** release in MW-exposed animals, but clinical relevance or
relation to carcinogenicity of these findings is doubtful.”
[* Humoral immunity is mediated by macromolecules found in extracellular fluids such as secreted antibodies, complement proteins, and certain antimicrobial peptides.]
necrosis factor is a cell signaling protein involved in systemic inflammation.]
A list of studies of the biologic and health effects on the immune system from exposure to radio frequency radiation published since the year 2000 can be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/saferemrImmuneSystem.
The Catania Resolution
According to several reports, a group of scientists issued a statement on EMF at a meeting in September.
They were attending the international conference “State of the Research on Electromagnetic Fields—Scientific and Legal Issues,” organized by ISPESL, the University of Vienna, and the City of Catania. ISPESL is a technical-scientific branch of the National Health Service that advises industry on protection of occupational health and well-being in the workplace. In Catania, Italy, on Sept. 13 and 14, 2002, they agreed to the following:
Epidemiological and in vivo and in vitro experimental evidence demonstrates the existence for electromagnetic field (EMF) induced effects, some of which can be adverse to health.
We take exception to arguments suggesting that weak (low intensity) EMF cannot interact with tissue.
There are plausible mechanistic explanations for EMF-induced effects which occur below present ICNIRP and IEEE guidelines and exposure recommendations by the European Union.
The weight of evidence calls for preventive strategies based on the precautionary principle. At times the precautionary principle may involve prudent avoidance and prudent use.
We are aware that there are gaps in knowledge on biological and physical effects, and health risks related to EMF, which require additional independent research.
The undersigned scientists agree to establish an international scientific commission to promote research for the protection of public health from EMF and to develop the scientific basis and strategies for assessment, prevention, management and communication of risk, based on the precautionary principle. https://www.bems.org/node/824