Waves of change: immunomodulation of the innate immune response by low frequency electromagnetic field exposure

L.A. Golbach

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU



In this thesis we investigated possible modulatory roles of low frequency electromagnetic fields (LF EMFs) exposure on the innate immune system. Recent decades have seen a huge increase in the use of electronic devices that nowadays enable us to communicate with distant family, enjoy music everywhere or order food without leaving the house. However besides the benefits, this evolution has also resulted in increased public concern about the potential adverse health effects of non-ionizing radiation. Every power line or electronic device emits a wide range of electromagnetic waves, which can pass through our bodies or damage our skin, depending on the characteristics of the waves. The symptoms attributed to continuous EMF exposure range from non-specific physical symptoms, such as fatigue 1, headaches 2, and redness of the skin to increased prevalence of childhood leukaemia 3. Although many theories regarding a potential mechanism of induction are put forward, to date no clear mechanism of action has been elucidated. Experimental evidence that could support an association between exposure and health status appears to be insufficient and inconsistent 4,5. We investigated the potential effect of LF EMF exposure on neutrophils, one of the key players of the innate immune response. We tried to elucidate a possible mechanism of interaction between intracellular signalling pathways and LF EMF exposure. We aimed to investigate calcium signalling, actin reorganization, cell migration and antimicrobial activity during exposure with different in vitro approaches.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Savelkoul, Huub, Promotor
  • van Kemenade, Lidy, Co-promotor
Award date18 Sep 2015
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789462574090
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • immune response
  • electromagnetic field
  • cells
  • cellular biology
  • exposure

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