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Open AccessArticle

Magnetic Fields Trump Oxygen in Controlling the Death of Erythro-Leukemia Cells

by Ying Li 1 and Paul Héroux 2,*
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, QC H4A 3J1, Canada
Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 1A2, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(24), 5318;
Received: 6 October 2019 / Revised: 27 November 2019 / Accepted: 3 December 2019 / Published: 6 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electromagnetic Radiation in Biology and Health)
Expansions in power and telecommunications systems have created a new electromagnetic environment. Here, we compare the death rate of human cancer cells in vitro in the pre-industrial electromagnetic environment of the past (“Zero Field”) with that of an electromagnetic environment typical of contemporary human exposures (“Incubator Field”). A cell incubator provides magnetic fields comparable to those in the current human environment. Steel shields divert those same fields away from cell preparations in the “pre-industrial” assays. Large changes in oxygen levels are provided by nitrogen or atmospheric gas over the cell cultures. Human cancer cells are then separated according to three categories: necrotic, early apoptotic, or late apoptotic. The results are compiled for two variables, magnetic field and oxygen, in 16 different situations (“Transitions”) likely to occur in the human body under present living conditions. We find that magnetic fields are a more powerful determinant of cell death than oxygen, and induce death by different mechanisms. This has important implications for the reproducibility of in vitro biological experiments focusing on cell survival or metabolism, and for public health. The rate and mechanisms of cell death are critical to many chronic human ailments such as cancer, neurological diseases, and diabetes. View Full-Text
Keywords: electromagnetic field; ELF; cellular phone; necrosis; apoptosis; K562 electromagnetic field; ELF; cellular phone; necrosis; apoptosis; K562
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Li, Y.; Héroux, P. Magnetic Fields Trump Oxygen in Controlling the Death of Erythro-Leukemia Cells. Appl. Sci. 2019, 9, 5318.

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