Lieke Golbach - Modulation of Immune Response through Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field (LF EMF) exposure

The mechanism of interaction of LF-EMF with living cells still forms an unresolved biophysical and societal issue. This projects aims to establish potential effects on intracellular cell structure and signal transduction pathways to be able to judge possible health risks of our daily exposure to these fields.

Recent theories focus on the potential importance of the microvillar actin bundles as sites for magnetic field interactions, leading to modulation of intracellular calcium influx and spatial organization. Both actin polymerization and calcium signaling are crucial in the migration of neutrophilic granulocytes, which essentially determines the health status of an individual by adequate immune surveillance. We will analyze effects of LF-EMF exposure on changes in intracellularly induced calcium pulses and in dynamics of actin polymerization and organization at specific cellular sites, both at single cell and multicellular level. Moreover, chemokine-induced chemotaxis of neutrophilic granulocytes will be examined. Global gene expression of LF-EMF treated cells will be analyzed by (Affymetrix) microarray and PCR to resolve intracellular pathways involved (using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis). Specific in vivo migration of leukocytes towards bacteria or towards a defined chemotactic factor will be analyzed by whole body exposure of selected transgenic zebrafish lines with fluorescently labeled neutrophilic granulocytes.Subtle regulation of calcium fluxes is crucial to every living cell and directed cell migration is a vital process not only in immune surveillance, but also e.g. in precise migration determining proper (embryonic) development. Therefore, this knowledge will form a strong basis to explain cellular sensing, integration and biological effect of the extremely low energy of LF-EMF.

This project is financed by ZON-MW and subsidized by the Dutch Government within the program: “Electromagnetic Fields and Health”.