Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) are abundantly produced in modern societies. In recent years, interest in the possible effects of ELF-EMFs on the immune system has progressively increased.
To examine the effects of ELF-EMFs with magnetic flux densities of 1, 100, 500, and 2000 µT on the serum levels of interleukin (IL)-9, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α).
80 adult male rats were exposed to ELF-EMFs at a frequency of 50 Hz for 2 h/day for 60 days. The serum cytokines were measured at two phases of pre- and post-stimulation of the immune system by human serum albumin (HSA).
Serum levels of IL-9 and TNF-α, as pro-inflammatory cytokines, were decreased due to 50 Hz EMFs exposure compared with the controls in the pre- and post-stimulation phases. On the contrary, exposures to 1 and 100 µT 50 Hz EMFs increased the levels of antiinflammatory cytokine, and IL-10 only in the pre-stimulation phase. In the post-stimulation phase, the mean level of serum IL-10 was not changed in the experimental groups.
The magnetic flux densities of 1 and 100 µT 50 Hz EMFs had more immunological effects than EMFs with higher densities. Exposure to 50 Hz EMFs may activate anti-inflammatory effects in rats, by down-modulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-9 and TNF-α) and induction of the anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10).