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Biomedical and Environmental Sciences
Vol. 28 (8), 2015, Pages: 558–570

The Screening of Genes Sensitive to Long-Term, Low-Level Microwave Exposure and Bioinformatic Analysis of Potential Correlations to Learning and Memory

Ya Li ZHAO, Ying Xian LI, Hong Bo MA, Dong LI, Hai Liang LI, Rui JIANG, Guang Han KAN, Zhen Zhong YANG, Zeng Xin HUANG

Astronaut Research and Training Center of China, Beijing 100193, China.

Abstract

Objective

To gain a better understanding of gene expression changes in the brain following microwave exposure in mice. This study hopes to reveal mechanisms contributing to microwave-induced learning and memory dysfunction.

Methods

Mice were exposed to whole body 2100 MHz microwaves with specific absorption rates (SARs) of 0.45 W/kg, 1.8 W/kg, and 3.6 W/kg for 1 hour daily for 8 weeks. Differentially expressing genes in the brains were screened using high-density oligonucleotide arrays, with genes showing more significant differences further confirmed by RT-PCR.

Results

The gene chip results demonstrated that 41 genes (0.45 W/kg group), 29 genes (1.8 W/kg group), and 219 genes (3.6 W/kg group) were differentially expressed. GO analysis revealed that these differentially expressed genes were primarily involved in metabolic processes, cellular metabolic processes, regulation of biological processes, macromolecular metabolic processes, biosynthetic processes, cellular protein metabolic processes, transport, developmental processes, cellular component organization, etc. KEGG pathway analysis showed that these genes are mainly involved in pathways related to ribosome, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, long-term potentiation, Huntington's disease, and Neurotrophin signaling. Construction of a protein interaction network identified several important regulatory genes including synbindin (sbdn), Crystallin (CryaB), PPP1CA, Ywhaq, Psap, Psmb1, Pcbp2, etc., which play important roles in the processes of learning and memory.

Conclusion

Long-term, low-level microwave exposure may inhibit learning and memory by affecting protein and energy metabolic processes and signaling pathways relating to neurological functions or diseases.

Keywords: Long-term; Low-level; Microwave; Gene chip; Learning and memory.

 
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