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Issue 6, 2003
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Interactions of zero-frequency and oscillating magnetic fields with biostructures and biosystems

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Abstract

This review points to the investigations concerning the effects of zero-frequency (DC) and oscillating (AC) magnetic fields (MFs) on living matter, and especially those exerted by weak DC and low-frequency/low-intensity AC MFs. Starting from the analysis of observations on the action of natural magnetic storms (MSs) or periodic geomagnetic field (GMF) variations on bacteria, plants and animals, which led to an increasing interest in MFs in general, this survey pays particular attention to the background knowledge regarding the action of artificial MFs not only at the ionic, molecular or macromolecular levels, but also at the levels of subcellular regions, in vitro cycling cells, in situ functioning tissues or organs and total bodies or entire populations. The significance of some crucial findings concerning, for instance, the MF-dependence of the nuclear or cellular volumes, rate of cell proliferation vs. that of cell death, extent of necrosis vs. that of apoptosis and cell membrane fluidity, is judged by comparing the results obtained in a solenoid (SLD), where an MF can be added to a GMF, with those obtained in a magnetically shielded room (MSR), where the MFs can be partially attenuated or null. This comparative criterion is required because the differences detected in the behaviour of the experimental samples against that of the controls are rather small per se and also because the evaluation of the data often depends upon the peculiarity of the methodologies used. Therefore, only very small differences are observed in estimating the MF-dependence of the expression of a single gene or of the rates of total DNA replication, RNA transcription and protein translation. The review considers the MF-dependence of the interactions between host eukaryotic cells and infecting bacteria, while documentation of the harmful effects of the MFs on specific life processes is reported; cases of favourable action of the MFs on a number of biological functions are also evidenced. In the framework of studies on the origin and adaptation of life on Earth or in the Universe, theoretical insights paving the way to elucidate the mechanisms of the MF interactions with biostructures and biosystems are considered.

Graphical abstract: Interactions of zero-frequency and oscillating magnetic fields with biostructures and biosystems

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 Dec 2002, accepted on 14 Mar 2003 and first published on 23 Apr 2003


Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/B212636B
Citation: Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2003,2, 637-648
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    Interactions of zero-frequency and oscillating magnetic fields with biostructures and biosystems

    P. Volpe, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2003, 2, 637
    DOI: 10.1039/B212636B

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