The aim of this study was to investigate if age and body mass of humans have an impact on the DNA-damaging properties of high-frequency mobile phone-specific electromagnetic fields (HF-EMF, 1950 MHz, universal mobile telecommunications system, UMTS signal) and if this form of radiation has an impact on the genotoxic effects of occupationally relevant exposures. Pooled peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from three groups [young normal weight, young obese (YO), and older age normal weight individuals] were exposed to different doses of HF-EMF (0.25, 0.5, and 1.0 W/kg specific absorption rate-SAR) and simultaneously or sequentially to different chemicals which cause DNA damage (CrO3, NiCl2, benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide-BPDE, and 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide-4NQO) via different molecular mechanisms. We found no difference in regard to the background values in the three groups but a significant increase of DNA damage (81% without and 36% with serum) in cells from old participants after radiation with 1.0 W/kg SAR 16 h. In combined treatment experiments we found no impact of the UMTS signal on chemically induced DNA damage in the different groups in general. However, a moderate decrease of DNA damage was seen in simultaneous treatment experiments with BPDE and 1.0 W/kg SAR in the YO group (decline 18%). Taken together our findings indicate that HF-EMF cause DNA damage in PBMC from older subjects (69.1 years). Furthermore, they show that the radiation does not increase induction of DNA damage by occupationally relevant chemicals.
DNA damage | chemical co-exposure | comet assay | mobile phone radiation
© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the UK Environmental Mutagen Society.