The Expression of PHOX2A, PHOX2B and of Their Target Gene dopamine-β-hydroxylase (DβH) is Not Modified by Exposure to Extremely-Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Field (ELF-EMF) in a Human Neuronal Model

Roberta Benfante, Ruth Adele Antonini, Niels Kuster, Juergen Schuderer, Christian Maercker, Franz Adlkofer, Francesco Clementi and Diego Fornasari, in Toxicology in Vitro, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp. 1489–1495, September 2008

“The homeodomain transcription factors PHOX2A and PHOX2B are vital for development of the autonomic nervous system. Their spatial and temporal expression at the neural crest is instrumental in determining neuronal precursor fate, and by regulating DβH expression, the enzyme catalysing noradrenaline synthesis from dopamine, they also play a role in determination of noradrenergic phenotype. Disturbing this finely regulated process leads to disruption of autonomic development and autonomic dysfunction syndromes such as DβH deficiency. As it had previously been shown that the catecholamine system is responsive to ELF-EMF, and as this has also been linked to various pathologies and to certain types of cancer, we wondered whether exposure to this type of radiation could affect the expression of PHOX2A, PHOX2B and DβH, also during differentiation triggered by retinoic acid. To investigate this possibility we exposed the human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line to 50 Hz power-line magnetic field at various flux densities and for various exposure times. We measured gene expression in exposed cells compared to control cells and also investigated any changes at protein level. Using our exposure protocol, we found no changes at either transcript or protein level of these important components of the autonomic nervous system and catecholaminergic system.”

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