ELF Exposure System for Live Cell Imaging

Myles Capstick, Primo Schär, David Schürmann, Albert Romann, and Niels Kuster, Bioelectromagnetics, online ahead of print November 01, 2012

A programmable system has been developed for the study of both transient and persistent effects of extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic field (MF) exposure of cell cultures. This set up is designed for both health risk assessment and therapeutic endpoints. This high precision system enables fully characterized exposure whilst simultaneously allowing live cell imaging. It is based on a live imaging cell around which two asymmetrical coils are wound in good thermal contact to a temperature controlled water jacket and is mounted on a microscope stage insert. This computer controlled apparatus allows signal waveforms that are pulsed, sinusoidal or composed of several harmonics, blinded protocols, and produces a record of the exposure and of the environmental conditions. 
B-fields up to 4 mT root-mean-square amplitude are possible with minimal temperature variation and no recognizable temperature differences between exposure and non-exposed states.

The scientific and technical impact of the study can be summarized as:

  • An exposure system that allows simultaneous exposure and live cell imaging has been developed
  • The system allows flexible signal and intermittent exposure schemes
  • The system allows blinded protocols and is easy to use due to automated software control and visual confirmation of field strength and cell temperature
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