Millimeter waves (MMW) are broadband frequencies that have recently been used in several applications in wireless communications, medical devices and nonlethal weapons [i.e., the nonlethal weapon, Active Denial Systems, (ADS) operating at 94–95 GHz, CW]. However, little information is available on their potential effects on humans. These radio-frequencies are absorbed and stopped by the first layer of the skin. In this study, we evaluated the effects of 94 GHz on the gene expression of skin cells. Two rat populations consisting of 17 young animals and 14 adults were subjected to chronic long-term 94 GHz MMW exposure. Each group of animals was divided into exposed and sham subgroups. The two independent exposure experiments were conducted for 5 months with rats exposed 3 h per day for 3 days per week to an incident power density of 10 mW/cm2, which corresponded to twice the ICNIRP limit of occupational exposure for humans. At the end of the experiment, skin explants were collected and RNA was extracted. Then, the modifications to the whole gene expression profile were analyzed with a gene expression microarray. Without modification of the animal's temperature, long-term chronic 94 GHz-MMW exposure did not significantly modify the gene expression of the skin on either the young or adult rats.
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Vol. 193 • No. 4