Assessment of genetic damage in peripheral blood of human volunteers exposed (whole-body) to a 200 T, 60Hz magnetic field

Genevieve C. Albert, James P. McNamee, Leonora Marro, Vijayalaxmi, Pascale V. Bellier, Frank S. Prato, Alex W. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Aim: To investigate the extent of damage in nucleated cells in peripheral blood of healthy human volunteers exposed to a whole-body 60Hz, 200T magnetic field. Materials and methods: In this study, 10 male and 10 female healthy human volunteers received a 4h whole-body exposure to a 200T, 60Hz magnetic field. In addition, five males and five females were treated in a similar fashion, but were exposed to sham conditions. For each subject, a blood sample was obtained prior to the exposure period and aliquots were used as negative- (pre-exposure) and positive- [1.5 Gray (Gy) 60Cobalt (60Co) -irradiation] controls. At the end of the 4h exposure period, a second blood sample was obtained. The extent of DNA damage was assessed in peripheral human blood leukocytes from all samples using the alkaline comet assay. To detect possible clastogenic effects, the incidence of micronuclei was assessed in phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated lymphocytes using the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay. Results: There was no evidence of either increased DNA damage, as indicated by the alkaline comet assay, or increased incidence of micronuclei (MN) in the magnetic field exposed group. However, an invitro exposure of 1.5Gy -irradiation caused a significant increase in both DNA damage and MN induction. Conclusions: This study found no evidence that an acute, whole-body exposure to a 200T, 60Hz magnetic field for 4 hours could cause DNA damage in human blood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-152
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA damage
  • Magnetic field
  • Micronuclei
  • Non-ionizing radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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