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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2009, Article ID 834239, 10 pages
Research Article

50Hz Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields Enhance Protein Carbonyl Groups Content in Cancer Cells: Effects on Proteasomal Systems

1Department of Biology M.C.A., University of Camerino, 62032 Camerino (MC), Italy
2Institute of Neurobiology and Molecular Medicine, Division of Medicine, CNR, 00143 Rome, Italy
3Istituto Superiore Prevenzione e Sicurezza Lavoro (ISPESL), Division of Venice, 30172 Venezia, Italy

Received 26 February 2009; Revised 14 May 2009; Accepted 5 June 2009

Academic Editor: Francesca Cutruzzolà

Copyright © 2009 A. M. Eleuteri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Electromagnetic fields are an assessed cause of prolonging free radicals lifespan. This study was carried out to investigate the influence of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on protein oxidation and on the 20S proteasome functionality, the complex responsible for the degradation of oxidized proteins. Caco 2 cells were exposed, for 24–72 hours, to 1 mT, 50 Hz electromagnetic fields. The treatment induced a time-dependent increase both in cell growth and in protein oxidation, more evident in the presence of TPA, while no changes in cell viability were detected. Exposing the cells to 50 Hz electromagnetic fields caused a global activation of the 20S proteasome catalytic components, particularly evident at 72 hours exposure and in the presence of TPA. The finding that EGCG, a natural antioxidant compound, counteracted the field-related pro-oxidant effects demonstrates that the increased proteasome activity was due to an enhancement in intracellular free radicals.