Long-term electromagnetic exposure of developing neuronal networks: A flexible experimental setup

Oster S, Daus AW, Erbes C, Goldhammer M, Bochtler U, Thielemann C
Source: Other
Publication Date: (2016)
Issue: 37(4): 264-278
Research Area:
Basic Research
Cells used in publication:
Neuron, hippo/cortical, rat
Species: rat
Tissue Origin: brain
Neuronal networks in vitro are considered one of the most promising targets of research to assess potential electromagnetic field induced effects on neuronal functionality. A few exposure studies revealed there is currently no evidence of any adverse health effects caused by weak electromagnetic fields. Nevertheless, some published results are inconsistent. Particularly, doubts have been raised regarding possible athermal biological effects in the young brain during neuronal development. Therefore, we developed and characterized a flexible experimental setup based on a transverse electromagnetic waveguide, allowing controlled, reproducible exposure of developing neuronal networks in vitro. Measurement of S-parameters confirmed very good performance of the Stripline in the band of 800-1000?MHz. Simulations suggested a flexible positioning of cell culture dishes throughout a large exposure area, as specific absorption rate values were quite independent of their position (361.7?±?11.4?mW/kg) at 1?W, 900?MHz. During exposure, thermal drift inside cellular medium did not exceed 0.1?K. Embryonic rat cortical neurons were cultivated on microelectrode array chips to non-invasively assess electrophysiological properties of electrogenic networks. Measurements were taken for several weeks, which attest to the experimental setup being a reliable system for long-term studies on developing neuronal tissue.