The World Health Organization and the French Health Safety Agency (ANSES) recognize that the expressed pain and suffering of electromagnetic field hypersensitivity syndrome (EHS) people are a lived reality requiring daily life adaptations to cope. Mechanisms involving glutamatergic N-methyl d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors were not explored yet, despite their possible role in hypersensitivity to chemicals. Here, we hypothesized that radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposures may affect pain perception under a modulatory role played by the NMDA receptor. The rats were exposed to RF-EMF for four weeks (five times a week, at 0 (sham), 1.5 or 6 W/kg in restraint) or were cage controls (CC). Once a week, they received an NMDA or saline injection before being scored for their preference between two plates in the two-temperatures choice test: 50 °C (thermal nociception) versus 28 °C. Results in the CC and the sham rats indicated that latency to escape from heat was significantly reduced by −45% after NMDA, compared to saline treatment. Heat avoidance was significantly increased by +40% in the 6 W/kg, compared to the sham exposed groups. RF-EMF effect was abolished after NMDA treatment. In conclusion, heat avoidance was higher after high brain-averaged specific absorption rate, affording further support for possible effect of RF-EMF on pain perception. Further studies need to be performed to confirm these data.
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