The Effects of Prenatal and Postnatal Exposure to 50-Hz and 3 mT Electromagnetic Field on Rat Testicular Development

Ersoy N., Acikgoz B., AKSU İ., KİRAY A., BAĞRIYANIK H. A., KİRAY M.

Medicina (Lithuania), vol.59, no.1, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 59 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/medicina59010071
  • Journal Name: Medicina (Lithuania)
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: electromagnetic field, hormones, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1), oxidative stress, rat, testis development, the SRC homology 3 (SH3) and multiple Ankyrin repeat domain (SHANK3), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Background and objectives: It has been shown that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have negative effects on the reproductive system. The biological effects of EMF on the male reproductive system are controversial and vary depending on the frequency and exposure time. Although a limited number of studies have focused on the structural and functional effects of EMF, the effects of prenatal and postnatal EMF exposure on testes are not clear. We aimed to investigate the effects of 50-Hz, 3-mT EMF exposure (5 days/wk, 4 h/day) during pre- and postnatal periods on testis development. Materials and Methods: Pups from three groups of Sprague-Dawley pregnant rats were used: Sham, EMF-28 (EMF-exposure applied during pregnancy and until postnatal day 28), EMF-42 (EMF-exposure applied during pregnancy and until postnatal day 42). The testis tissues and blood samples of male offspring were collected on the postnatal day 42. Results: Morphometric analyses showed a decrease in seminiferous tubule diameter as a result of testicular degeneration in the EMF-42 group. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels were decreased in the EMF-42 group. Lipid peroxidation levels were increased in both EMF groups, while antioxidant levels were decreased only in the EMF-28 group. We found decreased levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1) in the EMF-42 group, and decreased levels of the SRC homology 3 (SH3) and multiple ankyrin repeat domain (SHANK3) in the EMF-28 group in the testis tissue. Conclusions: EMF exposure during pre- and postnatal periods may cause deterioration in the structure and function of testis and decrease in growing factors that would affect testicular functions in male rat pups. In addition to the oxidative stress observed in testis, decreased SHANK3, VEGF, and IGF1 protein levels suggests that these proteins may be mediators in testis affected by EMF exposure. This study shows that EMF exposure during embryonic development and adolescence can cause apoptosis and structural changes in the testis.