BHK-21/C13 cells in monolayer culture
ribonucleic acid (RNA) synthesis
Life and Medical Sciences
Occupational Health and Environmental Toxicology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
A method has been devised whereby both the thermal and possible athermal biological effects resulting from microwave radiation can be assessed. Monolayer cultures of BHK-21/C13 cells were grown on microwave-transparent polystyrene coverslips, placed directly on the open end of a wave guide, and irradiated for 1 hour. In experiments seeking athermal biological effects of millimeter waves, culture medium was continuously recirculated over the cells to prevent temperature increases greater than 0.1 °C. Incorporation of 3H-uridine into RNA and of 3H-methionine into protein was quantified by measurement of optical densities of the autoradiographs in contiguous rectangular regions corresponding to portions of the cell monolayer immediately above the wave guide aperture and lying along its longer axis. Since power density was shown to vary with position along this axis according to a cosine2 relationship, it was possible to assess the extent of microwave effects on macromolecular synthesis at power densities ranging from zero at each edge to twice the average power density at the center of the waveguide.Monolayer cultures maintained at 37.2 °C by recirculation of the medium did not show microwave-induced changes in synthesis of RNA and protein (41.8 or 74.0 GHz at average power densities of 320 or 450 mW/cm2, respectively). Since macromolecular synthesis was examined both during and after irradiation, our results exclude both transient and persistent athermal biological effects of acute exposure to millimeter waves. In contrast, irradiation of cultures incubated in a small volume of nonrecirculated medium resulted in 1) marked heating of the monolayer, 2) a graded decline in macromolecular synthesis with increasing incident power, and 3), in some cases, destruction of the cell monolayer in the region immediately above the center of the waveguide aperture.
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