Laszlo, A., Moros, E. G., Davidson, T., Bradbury, M., Straube, W. and Roti Roti, J. The Heat-Shock Factor is not Activated in Mammalian Cells Exposed to Cellular Phone Frequency Microwaves. Radiat. Res. 164, 163–172 (2005).
There has been considerable interest in the biological effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation, given the explosive growth of cellular telephone use, with the possible induction of malignancy being a significant concern. Thus the determination of whether nonthermal effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation contribute to the process leading to malignancy is an important task. One proposed pathway to malignancy involves the induction of the stress response by exposures to cell phone frequency microwaves. The first step in the induction of the stress response is the activation of the DNA-binding activity of the specific transcription factor involved in this response, the heat-shock factor (HSF). The DNA-binding activity of HSF in hamster, mouse and human cells was determined after acute and continuous exposures to frequency domain multiple access (FDMA)- or code domain multiple access (CDMA)-modulated microwaves at low (0.6 W/kg) or high (∼5 W/kg) SARs at frequencies used for mobile communication. The DNA-binding activity of HSF was monitored using a gel shift assay; the calibration of this assay indicated that an increase of ∼10% in the activation of the DNA-binding activity of HSF after a 1°C increase in temperature could be detected. We failed to detect any increase in the DNA-binding ability of HSF in cultured mammalian cells as a consequence of any exposure tested, within the sensitivity of our assay. Our results do not support the notion that the stress response is activated as a consequence of exposure to microwaves of frequencies associated with mobile communication devices.