Investigation of the effects of 50 Hz electromagnetic field on the lifespan of the red blood cells in vitro
In recent years, studies have indicated that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) may have harmful effects on human health. The effects on human health of the 50 Hz extremely low frequency EMF (ELF-EMF), which is often used in daily life, are still controversial. In our study, we investigated the in vitro effects of 50 Hz ELF-EMF on the lifespan of erythrocytes, which have no nucleus and organelles, and are therefore relatively more sensitive compared to other cells in the body to any harmful effect that may come from outside. Whole blood obtained from healthy volunteers was exposed to 50 Hz, 0.3 mT ELF-EMF over 35 days. After this time, erythrocytes (red blood cell, RBC) counts in blood, hematocrit (HCT) value, main corpuscular volume (MCV), and erythrocyte osmotic fragility (EOF), an indicator of aging, were examined. At the end of 35 days, RBC and HCT were decreased while MCV and EOF were increased in the blood samples of both the EMF-exposed group and the non-exposed group. However, while there were no statistically significant changes in terms of RBC counts, and HCT between the two groups, it was observed that MCV and EOF increased significantly less in the EMF-exposed group compared to the non-exposed group. These results suggest that 50 Hz ELF-EMF exposure does not affect the lifespan of erythrocytes in vitro, but it may extend erythrocytes’ lifecycles due to a reduction in osmotic fragility of the erythrocytes in in vivo conditions.
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