Effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on DNA damage in mammals are still controversial. In the present study, the effects of EMFs on DNA damage in preimplantation mouse embryos in vitro were investigated by using gammaH2AX foci formation, a new sensitive indicator for detecting DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). The data obtained demonstrated that EMFs decreased the cleavage rate of preimplantation mouse embryos. This decreasing effect of EMFs was related to the DNA-damaging effect indicated by the induction of gammaH2AX foci formation in preimplantation mouse embryos. The inducing effects of EMFs on gammaH2AX foci formation could be inhibited by the treatment of noise MFs or wortmannin, a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) family inhibitor. Furthermore, the data obtained also showed that EMFs could activate the DNA damage-repair mechanism by recruiting repair factor Rad50 to the damaged DNA sites to repair the corresponding DNA damage. These findings suggest that EMFs could cause DNA damage in preimplantation embryos in vitro and that the adverse effects of EMFs on development might at least partly act through DNA damage. The DNA damage induced by EMFs could be at least partly repaired by the natural activation of DNA damage-repair mechanism or prevented by the simultaneous treatment of noise magentic fields.
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