Publication Details

Nguyen, T., Pham, V. T. H., Baulin, V., Croft, R. J., Crawford, R. J. & Ivanova, E. P. (2017). The effect of a high frequency electromagnetic field in the microwave range on red blood cells. Scientific Reports, 7 10798-1-10798-10.


The effect of red blood cells (RBC) exposed to an 18 GHz electromagnetic field (EMF) was studied. The results of this study demonstrated for the first time that exposure of RBCs to 18 GHz EMF has the capacity to induce nanospheres uptake in RBCs. The uptake of nanospheres (loading efficiency 96% and 46% for 23.5 and 46.3 nm nanospheres respectively), their presence and locality were confirmed using three independent techniques, namely scanning electron microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. It appeared that 23.5 nm nanospheres were translocated through the membrane into the cytosol, while the 46.3 nm-nanospheres were mostly translocated through the phospholipid-cholesterol bilayer, with only some of these nanospheres passing the 2D cytoskeleton network. The nanospheres uptake increased by up to 12% with increasing temperature from 33 to 37 °C. The TEM analysis revealed that the nanospheres were engulfed by the cell membrane itself, and then translocated into the cytosol. It is believed that EMF-induced rotating water dipoles caused disturbance of the membrane, initiating its deformation and result in an enhanced degree of membrane trafficking via a quasi-exocytosis process.

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