SOMATIC AND GENETIC EFFECTS OF LOW SAR 2.45 GHz MICROWAVE RADIATION ON WISTAR RATS
The somatic and genetic effects of 2.45 GHz Microwave radiation (MWR) on male and female Sprague Dawley rats were studied. Two hundred rats were used for this study. They were grouped into control and exposed according to the parameters under consideration. The animals were exposed to various levels of specific absorption rate (SARs) using the microwave generator, model ER660E, Serial No MX704CCR from Toshiba UK Ltd. All animals were kept in healthy, and radiation free environment with water and feed provided ad libitum. The study is divided into three parts; firstly, the effects of MWR on the anxiolytic and exploratory behaviour of the animals. MWR produced dose-dependent significant decrease in the cumulative time spent in the open arms of maze in the first twelve days after exposure and gradually increased towards the control value before the end of two weeks. It also affects the exploratory behavoiur of the animals, for the first two weeks after exposure but by the third week there was no significant difference between the control and the exposed animals. The modifications in the behaviour were not sex dependent as there were no significant differences between male and female rats. Secondly, the effects of MWR on the vital organs of male and female most especially, male reproductive functions were studied. The sperm count, gross motility and sperm morphology were determined using standard methods. The results showed that 2.45 GHz MWR reduced the sperm concentration, gross motility while increasing the percentage abnormal sperm cells. There was a decrease in reproductive organ weights and increased dead sperm cells as large numbers of the sperm cells membranes took up the eosin-nigrosin vital stain in the exposed group. Lastly, the genotoxic effects of MWR were studied using Chromosomal aberrations, single cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay) and direct amplification of length polymorphisms (DALP). There was a significant increase in the frequency of chromosomal aberrations between control and exposed groups. The exposure of vital mammalian cells to 2.45 GHz radiation altered the band patterns of the exposed animals, especially in the range 40 ” 120 bp. Starting with appearance of additional peaks compared with the control which was not seen in their tail DNA before exposure to MW and these were confirmed through the densitometric gel analysis. There was a statistically significant difference in the Olive moment and % DNA in tail of the exposed animals compared with control (p < 0.05). Thus, these findings support the hypothesis that exposure to 2.45 GHz MWR at studied SARs may have potential somatic and genetic effects.