BBEMG - Belgian BioElectroMagnetics Group

Belgian BioElectroMagnetics Group

in vitro study on Alzheimer disease: Reports and publications

in vitro study on Alzheimer disease: Reports and publications

 2015-2016 activity report

L. Verschaeve, A. Maes, R. Anthonissen

Our investigations on the possible association between exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease focussed on in vitro (cyto)genetic investigations in human cell lines. We have finalised our in vitro investigation using the cytome assay and found some evidence for genetic damage at ≥ 50 µT exposure levels. This may indicate some effect that corresponds with effects seen in AD patients. However this is by now far from sure and at present we are refining the investigation by further in depth studies. Results are not yet available.

We also wrote and published a literature review on “Genetic damage in humans exposed to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields” (see in our literature reviews).

We finally participated in a number of national or international working groups on ‘non ionizing radiations’ and attended a number of meetings.

2014-2015 activity report

L. Verschaeve, A. Maes, R. Anthonissen

Our investigations on the possible association between exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease focussed on in vitro (cyto)genetic investigations in human cell lines. We especially paid attention to possible cooperative genetic effects with environmental mutagens/carcinogens, and induction of cellular anomalies that are in accordance with genetic damage found in cells from Alzheimer’s disease patients. We found, as previously, no indication of a cooperative effect of ELF-MF with chemical mutagens acting through different working mechanisms.

We have also finalised our in vitro investigation using the cytome assay and found some evidence for genetic damage at ≥ 50 µT exposure levels. This may indicate some effect that corresponds with effects seen in AD patients. However this is by no means a proof of an association. According to the recent literature we are rather inclined to belief that such an association is not real. Our results just indicate that we cannot rule out the existence of an association by now and that further research is still needed.

The ‘protective’ effect at low exposure levels is interesting and may also warrant further research.

2013-2014 activity report

L. Verschaeve, A. Maes, R. Anthonissen

This year has been devoted to the follow up of the activities started during the 2009-2013 project (see the summary below for further information).

We previously found weak evidence supporting the proposed connection between ELF-MF-exposures and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Our present results from repeat and complementary experiments rather point towards absence of a connection. Continuation of our experiments will be necessary to definitely sort this out.

 

Past activity reports

2009-2013

L. Verschaeve, A. Maes, R. Anthonissen, H. Moukhliss

Our studies on the possible association between exposure to extreme low frequency magnetic fields and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease focussed on in vitro (cyto)genetic investigations in human cell lines. We especially paid attention to possible cooperative genetic effects with environmental mutagens/carcinogens, and induction of defects that are in accordance with genetic damage found in cells from Alzheimer patients. We therefore validated the so-called “cytome test”, performed the bacterial VITOTOX test to investigate cooperative DNA damaging effects with chemical mutagens (different modes of action) and performed the cytome test in human C3A and SH-SY5Y cells exposed to ELF-magnetic fields. IMR-32 cells were also investigated but results are not fully available.

Our results can so far be summarized as follows:

  • No (clear) indication of a ‘cooperative effect’ with chemical mutagens or carcinogens. We indeed found no such effects with the bacterial Vitotox test but previous results (1) on human white blood cells and co-exposure with an aneugen did show some, though limited effects.
  • We found increased numbers of cells with large micronuclei (indicating an aneugenic action) and nuclear buds (indicating gene amplification). There was, as expected, no effect on structural chromosome aberrations (nucleoplasmic bridges and small micronuclei).
  • No clear effect on cell proliferation (nuclear division index) or apoptosis (programmed cell death). At 500 µT cell proliferation was slightly increased (higher nuclear division index) but this was not statistically significant. In our previous work (1) on lymphocytes effects were seen on cell proliferation at high exposure levels (800 µT).
  • No cell-specific response was found in this sense that C3A and SH-SY5Y cells (analyses not finished) apparently show the same response to the ELF-magnetic field. But human lymphocytes seem to have a different response (according to our results from 2003).
  • With “FISH staining” we will be able to confirm (or not) the effect on aneuploidy (cell division disturbances) and the possible involvement of chromosomes 21 and 17 on which the amyloid β and Tau genes are located.  Both genes are considered of uttermost importance in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This will, together with termination of the present experiments be a priority for the next 9 months period.
  • The ‘dose-response curves were non-monotonic. Although a large number of compounds seem to be able to produce such effect (e.g., natural hormones, environmental pollutants, plastics, phytoestrogens and pesticides) it is not clear how to explain this finding with respect to ELF-MFs.

It should be stressed that despite some findings as indicated above there is so far no robust evidence of any effect of ELF-magnetic fields on the onset or course of Alzheimer’s disease.

(1) Verheyen G., Pauwels G., Verschaeve L., & Schoeters G. (2003) The effect of co-exposure of 50 Hz magnetic fields and an aneugen on human lymphocytes, determined by the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay. Bioelectromagnetics , 24, 160-164.

Publications

Publications related to BBEMG activities

 Maes A, Verschaeve L. (2016)
Genetic damage in humans exposed to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields. Arch Toxicol., 90(10):2337-2348.
>> Abstract in PubMed or in our literature reviews

Verschaeve L., Wambacq S., Anthonissen R., Maes A. (2016)
Co-exposure of ELF-magnetic fields and chemical mutagens: An investigation of genotoxicity with the SOS-based VITOTOX test in Salmonella typhimurium. Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen. 2016 Jan 1;795:31-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2015.11.003. Epub 2015 Nov 12.
>> Abstract in PubMed

Vanderstraeten J., Burda H., Verschaeve L., De Brouwer C. (2015)
Health effects of ELF magnetic fields: considering static and medium frequency fields in studies of the cryptochrome hypothesis. Health Physics, 109, 84-89.
>> Abstract in PubMed

Maes A., Anthonissen R., Verschaeve L. (2015)
On the alleged association between extreme low frequency magnetic field exposures and an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease.
In Ristic G., ed., Proc. 3rd International Conference on Radiation and Applications in Various Fields of Research, 8-13 June, Budva, Montenegro, RAD Association, Niš, Serbia, pp. 451-454.

Vanderstraeten J., Verschaeve L., Burda H., Bouland C., de Brouwer C. (2012)
Health effects of extremely low-frequency magnetic fields: reconsidering the melatonin hypothesis in the light of current data on magnetoreception. J. Appl. Toxicol., 32, 952-958.
>> Abstract in PubMed

Maes A., Anthonissen R., Verschaeve L. (2012)
Testing chemicals with the cytokinesisblock micronucleus cytome assay. Folia Biol., 58, 215-220.
>> Abstract in PubMed

Superior health Council/Gezondheidsraad (2012)
Childhood leukaemia and environmental factors. Brussels Superior Health Council, 2012; Advisory report nr. 8548. Legal deposit nr. D/2012/7795/5. ISBN: 978-94-9054-230-6.
>> pdf online

Verschaeve L., Anthonissen R., Grudniewska M., Wudarski J., Gevaert L., Maes A. (2011) Genotoxicity investigation of ELF-magnetic fields in Salmonella typhimurium with the sensitive SOS-based VITOTOX test.
Bioelectromagnetics, 32, 580-584.
>> Abstract in PubMed

Verschaeve L., Vanderstraeten J. (2011)
Champs et ondes: quel impact sur la santé? Pour la Science, Nr. 409, 128-133.
>> http://www.pourlascience.fr

Maes A., & Verschaeve L. (2011).
Can cytogenetics explain the possible association between exposure to extreme low frequency magnetic fields and Alzheimer's disease? J. Appl. Toxicol., 32(2), 81–87.
>> Abstract in PubMed

Verschaeve L. , Brits E., Bossuyt M., Adang D., Decat G., Martens L. Joseph W. (2011)
Niet-ioniserende stralen – Achtergronddocument 2011.
Milieurapport ( MIRA ), Vlaamse MilieuMaatschappij.
http://www.milieurapport.be/Upload/Main/MiraData/MIRA-T/02_THEMAS/02_19/AG_NIET-IONISERENDE_STRALING.PDF

Gosselin P., Simons K., Verschaeve L., Van Nieuwenhuyse A. (2011)
Childhood Cancer & Environment. Feasibility study for establishing a registration system for studying the relationship between childhood cancer & environment.
NEHAP, Final report, ISSN: D/2011/2505/62.

FOD/SPF Public Health (2009).
Les champs électromagnétiques et la santé. Votre guide dans le paysage électromagnétique.
(Contribution to and proofreading of the leaflet)
>> http://www.belgium.be

Verschaeve L., & Maes A. (2009)
Support for the hypothesis that electro-stimulation is responsible for Lipoatrophia semicircularis. Med. Hypotheses, 73, 802-806.
>> Abstract in PubMed

Verschaeve L., & Maes A. (2009)
In vitro investigations related to the hypothesis that Lipoatrophia semicircularis finds its origin in electro-stimulation. J. Appl. Toxicol, 29(6):478-82.
>> Abstract in PubMed

Maes A., Den Hond E., & Verschaeve L. (2007)
Use of METAFER-image analysis system for scoring micronuclei in binucleated human white blood cells. Microscopy and Analysis 21, 7-9 (EU).

Verschaeve L. (2004)
Does exposure to non ionizing radiati on induce adverse health effects in humans? Belgian J. Electro. Commun. 4, 3-24.

Curvers, B., & Maes, A. (2004).
Lipoatrophia semicircularis: a new office disease? 900 cases reported in Belgium . Arbeidsgezondheidszorg & Ergonomie . Band XLI. N°2-2004. Médecine du Travail & Ergonomie. Volume XLI. N°2-2004.

Verheyen G., Pauwels G., Verschaeve L., & Schoeters G. (2003)
The effect of co-exposure of 50 Hz magnetic fields and an aneugen on human lymphocytes, determined by the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay. Bioelectromagnetics , 24, 160-164.
>> Abstract in PubMed

Maes A., Curvers B., & Verschaeve L. (2003)
Lipoatrophia semicircularis: the electromagnetic hypothesis. Electromagnet. Biol. Med. 22, 183-193.

Bergqvist U. , Brix J., de Gruijl F., de Seze R.,Hietanen M., Jeffereys J.G.R., Lagroye I. , Lotz G.W., Owen R.D., Repacholi M.H., Saunders R., Tenforde T.S., Verschaeve L., & Veyret B. (2003)
Review of experimental investigations of EMF biological effects (0-100 kHz) - ICNIRP Standing committee II. In: Matthes R., McKinley A., Bernhardt J., Vecchia P., Veyret B., eds., Exposure to static and low frequency electromagnetic fields, biological effects and health consequences . ICNIRP13/2003, ISBN 3-934994-03-2.

Verschaeve, L . (2003).
Scientific Facts on electromagnetic fields from Power Lines, Wiring & Appliances. Greenfacts online publication; cf. http://www.greenfacts.org/power-lines/index.htm

Maes, A. (2002).
La lipoatrophie semicirculaire, une nouvelle maladie professionnelle. La sécurité au travail , 4, 21 février 2002, Editions Kluwer.

Maes, A . (2002).
Elektromagnetische straling, mogelijke gezondheidseffecten met speciale aan dacht voor een nieuw beroepsgebonden fenomeen : Lipoatrophia semicircularis. Nieuwsbrief van de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Arbeidshygiëne (NVvA), n°3, september 2002, p 9-10.

Van Den Heuvel R., Leppens H., Nematova G., & Verschaeve L. (2001)
Haemopoietic cell proliferation in murine bone marrow cells exposed to extreme low-frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields. Toxicol. In Vitro 15, 351-355.

De Ridder M., Decat G., Verschaeve L., & Bossuyt M. (2001)
Niet-ioniserende stralen. Milieu- en Natuurrapport Vl aan deren , MIRA-T, Garant, Leuven-Apeldoorn, pp.431-439.

Maes, A. (2001)
Ribbeldijen (Lipoatrophia semicircularis), een nieuwe beroepsgebonden aan doening. Nieuwsbrief Arbeidsveiligheid Kluwer , jaargang 20, n° 21, p 2-4.

Maes, A. (2000).
Les cuisses striées à l'étude. Travail & Bien-être 4, 28-33.

Maes, A. (2000).
Ribbeldijen onderzocht. Werk & Welzijn 4, 28-33.

Maes A., Collier M., Vandoninck S., & Verschaeve L. (2000)
Cytogenetic effects of 50 Hz magnetic fields of different magnetic flux densities. Bioelectromagnetics 21, 589-596.

Verschaeve L. (1999)
Hoogspanningslijnen, mobiele telefonie en gezondheid. Lucht 2, 52-54.

Martens L., & Verschaeve L. (1998)
Niet-ioniserende stralen. Milieu en Natuurraport Vl aan deren , MIRA-T, Garant, Leuven-Apeldoorn, 323-333.

Maes A., L. & Verschaeve (1997)
Biologische effecten van electromagnetische velden: extreem lage- en Radiofrequenties. Arbeidsgezondheidszorg & Ergonomie , XXXIV, 129-130.

Verschaeve L. (1994)
EC symposium hears more evidence of harmful NIR effects. Electromagnet. VDU News , 4(3-4), 14-16.

Verschaeve L. (1995)
Can non-ionizing radiation induce cancer? Cancer J. 8, 237-249.

Martens L., Verschaeve L., Maes A., & De Wagter C. (1994)
III.10B Hinder: niet-ioniserende stralen. In: Leren om te keren . Milieu- en Natuurrapport Vl aan deren, A. Verbruggen, ed., Garant, Leuven-Apeldoorn, pp. 411-428.

Other publication fields

For recent publications, see ISP/WIV website - Toxicology department.

Additional information

In case of any questions concerning this topic, do not hesitate to contact us.

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Latest update on 23/12/2016

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