The effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on living organisms are recently a focus of scientific interest, as they may influence everyday life in several ways. Although the neural effects of EMFs have been subject to a considerable number of investigations, the results are difficult to compare since dissimilar exposure protocols have been applied on different preparations or animals. In the present series of experiments, whole rats or excised rat brain slices were exposed to a reference level-intensity (250-500 μT, 50 Hz) EMF in order to examine the effects on the synaptic efficacy in the central nervous system. Electrophysiological investigation was carried out ex vivo, on neocortical and hippocampal slices; basic synaptic functions, short- and long-term plasticity and seizure susceptibility were tested. The most pronounced effect was a decrease in basic synaptic activity in slices treated directly ex vivo observed as a diminution in amplitude of evoked potentials. On the other hand, following whole-body exposure an enhanced short- and long-term synaptic facilitation in hippocampal slices and increased seizure susceptibility in neocortical slices was also observed. However, these effects seem to be transient. We can conclude that ELF-EMF exposure exerts significant effects on synaptic activity, but the overall changes may strongly depend on the synaptic structure and neuronal network of the affected region together with the specific spatial parameters and constancy of EMF.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging