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GSM Irradiation Influence on Nervous System


Investigation into the Effects of GSM Irradiation on Neural Plasticity

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-OTH/Other/Biotechnology

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia / Beritashvili Institute of Physiology, Georgia, Tbilisi


  • Université Catholique de Louvain / Faculte des Sciences Appliquees, Belgium, Louvain-la-Neuve\nUniversity of Washington / Department of Bioengineering, USA, WA, Seattle\nUniversity of Illinois, USA, IL, Chicago

Project summary

Purpose of this project is to investigate in laboratory experiments effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic field (EMF) emitted from cellular phones on the different (adaptive and maladaptive) aspects of neuronal plasticity at the molecular, cellular and behavioral level using the rat’s system and on the electrical activity of the isolated single neuron of mollusk. Progressive process of kindling epileptogenesis (maladaptive neuronal plasticity) and development of learning process (adaptive neuronal plasticity) will be used as models of neuronal plasticity. The working hypothesis is that pulsed radiofrequency radiation (RFR) can affect the Central Nervous System (CNS) in nonthermal way and that a pulsed RFR is more potent than its continuous-wave (CW) counterpart in causing biological effects.

Investigation into the biological effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) has especially become the object of scientific attention due to the increase use of wireless communication technology. The importance of ensuring compatibility between activated electronic instrumentation of various kinds and the pulsed microwave radiation currently used in GSM mobile telephony is well recognized. In this case, non-thermal influence of the radiation is considered to be responsible. However, the same considerations do not currently extend to the human organism. The popular belief that adverse health effects can be induced only by the heating effect of EMF radiation is, however, a questionable. A bulk of research published in the peer reviewed scientific literature indicates that weak EMF affects living organisms in various non-thermal ways.

The frequencies utilized in GSM should be considered to be bioactive. This kind of radiation has been found to affect a wide variety of brain functions, such as learning and memory, electrical activity and neurochemistry, the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. It has to be appointed that, some neurons generate action potentials with frequencies that are in the same range as the modulation frequency and cell phone irradiation can possibly directly affect bioelectrical activity of these neurons.

Existing Safety Guidelines, based solely on consideration of the specific absorption rate (SAR), afford no protection against frequency-specific effects. It is clear that the question of precisely how adverse effects, particularly on the nervous system, can be caused by non-thermal influence of the pulsed microwave radiation currently employed in GSM telecommunication is far from being resolved. Our approach for a solution on the issue is complex. The proposed project involves studies as at the whole brain, single neuron, and subcellular levels.

The overall objectives of the project will be:

- Study of influence CW and pulsed 900 MHz radiation of different (intensity, duration) parameters on open field activity (exploratory behavior, emotional state, habituation) in rat.
- Study of RFR interaction with progressive process of kindling epileptogenesis in rat.
- Study of RFR interaction with different memory systems and learning process.
- Study of neurotransmitters activity in limbic and striatal structures in RF irradiated rat.
- Investigate at the electromicroscopical level structural elements (neurons, synapses, glial elements) of limbic and striatal structures in RF irradiated rat.
- Investigation of cell phone irradiation influence on the isolated single neuron physiology. single neuron of mollusk).

The impact of the project on the progress in this field: It will be obtained information on the safety dose of the GSM irradiation. The researches will facilitate manufacturing more safety mobile phones.

Competence of project team. Project team has many years experience in:

- Investigation of animal behavior using electrophysiological methods and different behavioral testing procedures;
- Investigation of ultrastructure of the rat neocortex, limbic and extrapyramidal structures under different condition;
- Investigation of the influence of electromagnetic field on the neuron’s physiology.
- Team members (engineer group) have experience in the development of RFR exposure and dosimetry systems.

Expected results:

- To expand studies about interaction of GSM radiation with process of epileptogenesis and with learning and memory;
- To determine sensitivity of different memory systems to GSM radiation;
- To determine molecular mechanism of GSM radiation influence on neuronal plasticity.
- Influence of cellular phone irradiation on the neuron's membrane potential, action potential, excitability, pacemaker potential will be elucidated.
- To expand knowledge of GSM radiation action on nervous system.

Applications: Cell-phone health effect is a global problem. Since million of people over the world are using cell phones, results from this research could have an important public health impact. Data could be extrapolated on humans and may provide information on the setting of safety guidelines for human exposure to the radiation. It is also possible that the obtained results will serve as an incentive to manufacture safer cellular phones.

Meeting ISTC Objectives: All scientists, including former weapon scientist will work in civilian environment on the civilian project. The project will facilitate integration of Georgian scientists into the international scientific community.

Scope of Activities:

- GSM radiation exposure and dosimetry systems will be developed.
- Effects of GSM radiation exposure on different forms of memory and learning (adaptive neuronal plasticity) based on performance of the rat on different behavioral tasks will be studied.
- Influence of cell phone radiation on the progressive processes of kindling epileptogenesis (maladaptive neuronal plasticity) induced by daily tetanic stimulation of the amygdala in rats will be investigated.
- Immunocytochemical researches using specific antibodies will be performed in exposed rats.
- The structural elements (neurons, synapses, glial elements) of limbic and striatal structures will be investigated at the electromicroscopical level in the RFR exposed rats.
- Influence of cellular phone irradiation on single neuron physiology will be studied.

Role of foreign collaborators: During all period of project implementation, information exchange with foreign collaborators will take place. They will cross-check results obtained in the course of project implementation and coordinate project implementation.

Technical Approach and Methodology: The idea that cellular phone irradiation may influence in nonthermal ways on CNS will be tested by comparing effects of CW and pulsed GSM radiation on neuronal plasticity. Progressive process of kindling epileptogenesis (maladaptive neuronal plasticity) and development of learning process (adaptive neuronal plasticity) will be used as models of neuronal plasticity.

- Kindling in rats will be induced by constant current, which will be applied to the left or right amygdala. In all groups of rats will be assessed: The rate of development of ipsi and contralateral after discharge (AD) (tetanus intensity / number / duration). AD duration for both amygdala sites will be measured by on-line EEG recording; the rate of development of the convulsive behavior, assessment of behavioral seizure severity will be determined according to Rassine's classification. The development of ipsi- and contra-lateral AD and motor seizure (MS) and behavioral depression (BD) duration will be evaluated using a repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance.

- Development of learning process and retention of declarative and nondeclarative form of memory in RFR exposed and control group of rats will be assessed in Water Maze and Radial Arm Maze tasks. Tracking of animal movements in Open Field, Water Maze and Radial Arm Maze, also collection of other numeric data (time in Zone, latency to enter zone, path angles and so on) will be made by video tracking system. Development of learning process will be assessed by repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance.

- Immunocytochemical determination of neurotransmitter activity will be carried out by specific antibodies.

- Investigation ultrastructure of the rat neocortex, limbic and extrapyramidal structures under different condition will be carried out by electron microscopy.

- The experimental methods used for investigation single neuron include electrophysiological microelectrode technique for intracellular recording of neuronal potentials. For studding cell phone irradiation influence on the single neuron in experiments, a radiofrequency generator (900 MHz) and a low frequency generator (which generates frequency from 0.7 Hz) will be used. In another series of experiments, neurons will be irradiated directly with a cell phone. Intensity of EMF at the point of single neuron will be measured with powermeter and will be monitored in all cases. SAR will be calculated.

- For adequate dosimetry, the following will be done: we will develop a electromagnetic field exposure system for modeling irradiation of rats (200-300 gr.) with modulated (punctuated) EMF in the 800-900 MHz frequency range, with the output power up to 6-10 watts. The system will consist of the following assembly: High frequency generator, power amplifier, modulator, irradiator, and anechoic chamber of RF irradiator for simultaneous irradiation of animal groups, control system for sham exposure. Head only and whole body exposure systems will be used.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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