The existence of effects of radiofrequency field exposure at environmental levels on living tissues and organisms remains controversial, in particular regarding potential “nonthermal” effects produced in the absence of temperature elevation. Therefore, we investigated whether TRPV1, one of the most studied thermosensitive channels, can be activated by the heat produced by radiofrequency fields and by some specific nonthermal interaction with the fields. We have recently shown that TRPV1 activation can be assessed in real-time on live cells using the bioluminescence resonance energy transfer technique. Taking advantage of this innovative assay, we monitored TRPV1 thermal and chemical modes of activation under radiofrequency exposure at 1800 MHz using different signals (CW, GSM, UMTS, LTE, Wi-Fi and WiMAX) at specific absorption rates between 8 and 32 W/kg. We showed that, as expected, TRPV1 channels were activated by the heat produced by radiofrequency field exposure of transiently-transfected HEK293T cells, but found no evidence of TRPV1 activation in the absence of temperature elevation under radiofrequency field exposure. There was no evidence either that, at fixed temperature, radiofrequency exposure altered the maximal efficacy of the agonist Capsaicin to activate TRPV1.
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Vol. 189 • No. 1