Genotoxicity evaluation of human populations exposed to radio frequency radiation

Jump To References Section


  • Toxicology Unit, Biology Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad - 500 007, Andhra Pradesh ,IN
  • Toxicology Unit, Biology Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad - 500 007, Andhra Pradesh ,IN
  • Toxicology Unit, Biology Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad - 500 007, Andhra Pradesh ,IN
  • Toxicology Unit, Biology Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad - 500 007, Andhra Pradesh ,IN
  • Toxicology Unit, Biology Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad - 500 007, Andhra Pradesh ,IN


Chromosomal aberrations, Comet assay, Genetic effect, Micronucleus test, Mobile telephones


In the modern day life, mobile telephones have become an integral part for mutual communication. Virtually most people are exposed to radio frequency radiation. In the current study a group of 55 subjects with regular cell phone usage and an equal number of well-matched control individuals were studied. The possible genetic changes in lymphocytes of cellular telephone users were assessed with the comet assay, micronucleus test and chromosomal aberrations analysis. In addition micronucleus test on buccal epithelial cells was also carried out in the same subjects. The results suggested that in the mobile phone users there was a statistically significant increase in mean DNA damage when compared to controls. Similar result was observed with micronucleus test and chromosomal aberrations analysis also (P<0.05). Age, smoking and alcohol consumption did not have any significant effect on genetic damage when analyzed by comet assay. However, no association of gender, age, smoking and alcohol consumption on micronucleus frequency was observed. Smoking and alcohol consumption had significant effect by the chromosomal aberration test (P<0.05). The results of this study indicated that the genetic damage of peripheral lymphocytes and buccal epithelial cells in the mobile telephone users increased significantly, as compared with controls.


Download data is not yet available.



How to Cite

P. V., R., N., S., Mahboob, M., M. F., R., & P., G. (2018). Genotoxicity evaluation of human populations exposed to radio frequency radiation. Toxicology International, 16(1), 09–19. Retrieved from



Original Research
Received 2018-04-05
Accepted 2018-04-05
Published 2018-04-05



Albertini, RJ, Anderson, D, Douglas, GR, Hagmar, L, Hemminki, K, Merlo, F, Natarajan, AT, Norppa, H, Shuker, DEG, Tice, R, Waters, MD and Aitio, A (2000). IPCS guidelines for the monitoring of genotoxic effects of carcinogens in humans. Mutat Res., 463: 111-172.

Chandrasekhar, M, Rekhadevi, PV, Sailaja, N, Rahman, MF, Reddy, JP, Mahboob, M and Grover P (2006).

Evaluation of genetic damage in operating room personnel exposed to anaesthetic gases. Mutagenesis, 21: 249-254.

Chang, SK, Choi, JS, Gil, HW, Yang, JO, Lee, EY, Jeon, YS, Lee, ZW, Lee, M, Hong, MY, Ho Son, T and Hong, SY (2005). Genotoxicity evaluation of electromagnetic fields generated by 835-MHz mobile phone frequency band. Eur. J. Cancer Prev., 14: 175-179.

Faust, F, Kassie, F, Knasmuller, S, Kevekordes, S and MerschSundermann, V (2004). Use of primary blood cells for the assessment of exposure to occupational genotoxicants in human biomonitoring studies. Toxicology, 198: 341– 350.

Fenech, M and Morley AA (1985). Measurement of micronuclei in lymphocytes. Mutat Res., 147: 29-36.

Gadhia, PK, Shah, T, Mistry, A, Pithawala, M and Tamakuwala D (2003). A preliminary study to assess possible chromosomal damage among users of digital mobile phones. Electromagn Biol Med, 22: 149-159.

Gandhi, G and Anita (2005). Genetic damage in mobile phone users: some preliminary findings. Indian J. Hum. Genet, 11: 99-104.

Gandhi, G and Singh P (2005). Cytogenetic damage in mobile phone users: preliminary data. Int. J. Hum. Genet, 5: 259-265.

Garaj-Vrhovac, V (1999). Micronucleus assay and lymphocyte mitotic activity in risk assessment of occupational exposure to microwave radiation. Chemosphere, 39: 2301-2312.

Garson, OM, McRobert, TL, Campbell, IJ, Hocking, BA and Gordon I (1991. A chromosomal study of workers with long-term exposure to radio-frequency radiation. Med. J. Aust., 155: 289-292.

Gorlitz, BD, Muller, M, Ebert, S, Hecker, H, Kuster, N and Dasenbrock C (2005). Effects of 1-week and 6-week exposure to GSM/DCS radiofrequency radiation on micronucleus formation in B6C3F1 mice. Radiat Res., 164: 431-439.

Hardell, L, Carlberg, M, Soderqvist, F, Mild, KH and Morgan, LL (2007). Long-term use of cellular phones and brain tumors: increased risk associated with use for > 10 years. Occup. Environ. Med., 64: 626-632.

Kundi, M, Mild, KH, Hardell, L and Mattsson, M (2004). Mobile telephones and cancer- A review of epidemiological evidence. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health, B 7: 351-384.

Lagroye, I, Anane, R, Wettring, BA, Moros, EG, Straube, WL, Laregina, M, Niehoff, M, Pickard, WF, Baty, JD and Roti, JL (2004). Measurements of DNA damage after acute exposure to pulsed field-wave 2450MHz microwaves in rat brain cells by two alkaline comet assay methods. Int. J. Radiat Biol., 80: 11-20.

Lalic, H, Lekic, A and Radosevic-Stasic, B (2001). Comparison of chromosome aberrations in peripheral blood lymphocytes from people occupationally exposed to ionizing and radiofrequency radiation. Acta Med.

Okayama, 55: 117-127.

Lonn, S, Ahlbom, A, Christensen, HC, Johansen, C, Schuz, J, Edstrom, S, Henriksson, G, Lundgren, J, Wennerberg, J and Feychting, M (2006). Mobile phone use and risk of parotid gland tumor. Am. J. Epidemiol., 164: 637-643.

Lonn, S, Ahlbom, A, Hall, P, Feychting, M and the Swedish interphone study group (2005). Long-term mobile phone use and brain tumor risk. Am. J. Epidemiol., 161: 526-535.

Maes, A, Collier, M, Slaets, D and Verschaeve, L (1995). Cytogenic effects of microwaves from mobile communication frequencies (954 MHz). ElectroMagnetobiol, 14: 91-98.

Maes, A, Van Gorp, U and Verschaeve, L (2006). Cytogenetic investigation of subjects professionally exposed to radiofrequency radiation. Mutagenesis, 21: 139-142.

Markova, E, Hillert, L, Malmgren, L, Persson, BR and Belyaev, IY (2005). Microwaves from GSM mobile telephones affect 53BP1 and gamma-H2AX foci in human lymphocytes from hypersensitive and healthy persons. Environ Health Perspect., 113: 1172-1177.

Mashevich, M, Folkman, D, Kesar, A, Barbul, A, Korenstein, R, Jerby, E and Avivi, L (2003). Exposure of human peripheral blood lymphocytes to electromagnetic fields associated with cellular phones leads to chromosomal instability. Bioelectromagnetics, 24: 82-90.

Mild, KH, Hardell, L, Kundi, M and Mattsson M (2003). Mobile telephones and cancer: Is there really no evidence of an association? (Review). Int. J. Mol. Med., 12: 67-72.

Paulraj, R and Behari, J (2006). Single strand DNA breaks in rat brain cells exposed to microwave radiation. Mutat Res., 596: 76-80.

Richardson, A (1991). Analysis of cytogenetic abnormalities. Part I: Chromosome analysis. In Barch, M. J. (Ed), The ACT cytogenetic laboratory manual, Raven Press, New York, 329-382.

Scarfi, MR, Fresegna, AM, Villani, P, Pinto, R, Marino, C, Sarti, M, Altavista, P, Sannino, A and Lovisolo, GA (2006). Exposure to radiofrequency radiation (900 MHz, GSM signal) does not affect micronucleus frequency and cell proliferation in human peripheral blood lymphocytes: an interlaboratory study. Radiat Res., 165: 655-663.

Schuz, J, Bohler, E, Berg, G, Schlehofer, B, Hettinger, I, Schlaefer, K, Wahrendorf, J, Kunna-Grass, K and Blettner, M (2006). Cellular phones, cordless phones, and risks of Glioma and Meningioma (Interphone study group, Germany). Am. J. Epidemiol., 163: 512-520.

Singh, NP, McCoy, MT, Tice, RR and Schneider, EL (1988). A simple technique for quantitation of low levels of DNA damage in individual cells. Exp. Cell Res., 175: 184-191.

Stich, HF, Stich, W and Parida, BB (1982). Elevated frequency of micronucleated cells in the buccal mucosa of individuals at high risk for oral cancer: betel quid chewers. Cancer Lett., 17: 25-134.

Stronati, L, Testa, A, Moquet, J, Edwards, A, Cordelli, E, Villani, P, Marino, C, Fresegna, AM, Appolloni, M and Lloyd, D (2006). 935 MHz cellular phone radiation: An in vitro study of genotoxicity in human lymphocytes. Int. J. Radiat Biol., 82: 339-346.

Tice, RR, Hook, GG, Donner, M, McRee, DI and Guy, AW (2002). Genotoxicity of radiofrequency signals: Investigation of DNA damage and micronuclei induction in cultured human blood cells. Bioelectromagnetics, 23: 113–126.

Trosic, I, Busljeta, I and Modlic, B (2004). Investigation of the genotoxic effect of microwave irradiation in rat bone marrow cells: in vivo exposure. Mutagenesis, 19: 361-364.

Verschaeve, L (2005). Genetic effects of radiofrequency radiation (RFR). Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 207: S336-S341.

Zhang, DY, Xu, ZP, Chiang, H, Lu, DQ and Zeng, QL (2006). Effects of GSM 1800 MHz radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on DNA damage in Chinese hamster lung cells. Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi, 40: 149-152.

Most read articles by the same author(s)