2006 Volume 208 Issue 2 Pages 133-140
Extremely low-frequency (0-300 Hz) electromagnetic fields (EMFs) generated by power lines, wiring and home appliances are ubiquitous in our environment. All populations are now exposed to EMF, and exposure to EMF may pose health risks. Some of the adverse health effects of EMF exposure are lipid peroxidation and cell damage in various tissues. This study has investigated the effects of EMF exposure and zinc administration on lipid peroxidation in the rat brain. Twenty-four male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly allocated to three groups; they were maintained untreated for 6 months (control, n = 8), exposed to low-frequency (50 Hz) EMF for 5 minutes every other day for 6 months (n = 8), or exposed to EMF and received zinc sulfate daily (3 mg/kg/day) intraperitoneally (n = 8). We measured plasma levels of zinc and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and levels of reduced glutathione (GSH) in erythrocytes. TBARS and GSH levels were also determined in the brain tissues. TBARS levels in the plasma and brain tissues were higher in EMF-exposed rats with or without zinc supplementation, than those in controls (p < 0.001). In addition, TBARS levels were significantly lower in the zinc-supplemented rats than those in the EMF-exposed rats (p < 0.001). GSH levels were significantly decreased in the brain and erythrocytes of the EMF-exposed rats (p < 0.01), and were highest in the zinc-supplemented rats (p < 0.001). Plasma zinc was significantly lower in the EMF-exposed rats than those in controls (p < 0.001), while it was highest in the zinc-supplemented rats (p < 0.001). The present study suggests that long-term exposure to low-frequency EMF increases lipid peroxidation in the brain, which may be ameliorated by zinc supplementation.