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Home > Archives > Volume 11, No 4 (2013) > Article

DOI: 10.14704/nq.2013.11.4.699

The Effects of Prenatal Exposure to a 900 Megahertz Electromagnetic Field on Hippocampus Morphology and Learning Behavior in Rat Pups

Ayşe İkinci*, Ersan Odacı*, Mehmet Yıldırım†, Haydar Kaya‡, Metehan Akça†, Hatice Hancı*, Ali Aslan§, Osman Fikret Sönmezll, Orhan Baş


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect on hippocampus morphology and learning behavior in rat pups following prenatal exposure to a 900 megahertz (MHz) electromagnetic field (EMF). Female Sprague Dawley rats weighing 180-250 g were left to mate with males. The following day, pregnant rats identified as such by the vaginal smear test were divided into two groups, control (n=3) and EMF (n=3). No procedures were performed on the control group. The rats in the EMF group were exposed to 900 MHz EMF on days 13 to 21 of pregnancy, for 1 h a day. Female rat pups were removed from their mothers at 22 days old. We then established two newborn rat groups, a 13 member control group and a 10 member EMF group. Radial arm maze and passive avoidance tests were used to measure rat pups’ learning and memory performance. All rats were decapitated on the postnatal 32nd day. Routine histological procedures were performed on the brain tissues, and sections were stained with Cresyl fast violet. The radial arm maze (p=0.007) and passive avoidance (p=0.032) tests were administered to both groups under identical conditions, and compromised learning behavior was determined in the EMF group rats. Morphological compromise was also determined in the EMF group sections. Our results show that the application of a 900 MHz EMF in the prenatal period adversely affected female pups’ learning behavior and also resulted in histopathological changes appearing in the hippocampus.


newborn female rats; hippocampus; electromagnetic field; learning behavior

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