It was previously reported that pre-treatment of human peripheral blood lymphocytes with non-ionising microwave radiation (GSM signal) adapted cells towards a subsequent challenging exposure to the known mutagen mytomicin C (MMC): cells pre-exposed to the microwave radiation and then treated with the chemical exhibited a lower incidence of DNA damage compared to cells treated with the mutagen alone.
Adaptation is a well characterized radiobiological phenomenon but it has been observed following treatments with known DNA-damaging agents. Typically, it is known that pre-exposing in vitro cells to very low and/or chronic doses of ionizing radiation (IR) leads exposed cells to better tolerate the damage caused by a subsequent higher, acute dose of IR, known as challenge. Such adaptive response has been measured in terms of various radiobiological endpoints (e. g. cell killing, chromosome aberrations, mutations, etc).
Never before has been reported whether pre-treatment with an agent which is not capable per se of damaging the DNA, as is the case of non-ionising radiation, results in an adaptive response.
IR is ubiquitous in human activities. The spectrum of lesions it causes at the DNA level, as well as the mechanisms through which such damage is induced, differs significantly from that of other genotoxic agents such as UV radiation or chemical agents. At the same time, human exposure to electromagnetic fields such as those associated to mobile communication technologies is continuously increasing.
Therefore, the aim of the experiment is to study the combined effects of radiofrequency (RF) signals and IR. Specifically, the goal is to elucidate whether a pre-exposure of human cells to RF results in an adaptation to IR-induced toxicity, similarly to what reported in the case of MMC.