The Immunomodulatory Effect of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic
Field on Serum Cytokine Levels in A Mouse Model
of Hindlimb Unloading
The first two authors equally contributed to this work.
Astronauts are exposed to a wide range of environmental stresses during spaceflights that reduce their immune responses and make them more susceptible to infections and malignancies. Exposure to a low dose of a certain stress induces an adaptive response, which leads to resistance to higher doses of the same or other types of stress. We designed this study to investigate the effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF)-induced adaptive response on immune system modulation in a mouse model of hindlimb unloading (HU) as a ground-based animal model of spaceflight conditions.
Materials and Methods
In this experimental study, serum levels of T helper (Th)-mediated cytokines were determined by the multiplex cytometric bead assay in four groups of mice (n=10 per group): HU mice, RF-EMF-treated mice, HU mice pre-exposed to RF-EMF; and untreated controls. Mice were exposed to 2450 MHz RF-EMF with SAR 0.478 W/ kg for 12 hours/day for three successive days.
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-9 (IL-9) and IL-22 were significantly decreased in HU mice. Comparison between HU mice and RF-EMF-treated mice showed an opposite change in IL-6, while IL-9, IL-22, IFN-γ and TNF-α decreased in both groups. However, just interferon gamma (IFN-γ) was significantly decreased in HU mice that were pre-exposed to RF-EMF compared to the control group.
The effect of RF-EMF in elevating IL-6 and reducing IL-9 in opposite directions in HU mice suggest a modulating effect of RF-EMF on HU-induced changes in these cytokines, as Th2 and Th9 eventually returned to normal levels and balances in cytokine ratios were also restored in HU mice pre-exposed to RF-EMF.