Using a cell phone affects the structure of human cells

Marina Kostromeeva, a Master's student of the Department of Ecology, Nature Management, and Ecological Engineering of the Biological Institute, has studied the features of the individual susceptibility of users to the radiation of mobile phones. The experiment, based at Siberian State Medical University, showed that prolonged exposure to electromagnetic waves leads to a change in the structure of the buccal epithelium cells (inner side of the cheek). Among the pathologies revealed are the destruction of nuclei, violation of the discrepancy of chromosomes in cell division, and a number of other abnormalities.

- A mobile phone is an integral part of a person's life. Often its active use begins with the first class in school. The scientific community has been arguing about the influence of mobile phones on the body. A few years ago, World Health Organization classified mobile phones as a 2B group, which includes substances that may be capable of causing cancer, says Marina Kostromeeva. -We decided to conduct our own research with my supervisor, Nikolai Ilinskikh, Professor of the Biological Institute, head of the Department of Biology and Genetics SSMU.

The experiment involved 100 volunteers, freshmen from the medical university. Before the study, they completed a detailed questionnaire. At the beginning of the project and a month later, the students scraped cells from the inner surface of both cheeks. The cell samples from the cheek often used during a phone conversation (the “leading” cheek) and from the opposite cheek, which was significantly less exposed to radiation, were compared.

- The results of cytogenetic studies showed a significant increase in the frequency of pathologies in the nuclear structure of the cells of the “leading” cheek in comparison with similar disorders in the epithelium of the opposite cheek, Marina says. - Among the pathologies revealed are micronuclei (fragments that do not contain the complete genome necessary for cell survival), binucleation, karyorrhexis (decay of the cell nucleus into parts), and some other abnormalities.

According to a comparative analysis, nuclear pathologies are more common in women. On the one hand, this is because they talk more on the mobile phone during the day. On the other hand, it is because of the additional chromosome X present in the female, which has a greater propensity to lose and form micronuclei as compared to other chromosomes.

The ethnic affiliation is also important. Experimental data have shown that the sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation among representatives of the Mongoloid ethicity is significantly higher than for Caucasians.

The results of the research formed the basis of the graduate work that Marina Kostromeeva successfully defended several days ago. Based on the data obtained during the experiment, she also developed recommendations for cell phone users.