Acute exposure to power-frequency magnetic fields has no effect on the acquisition of a spatial learning task by adult male mice

Zenon J. Sienkiewicz*, Richard Haylock, Richard D. Saunders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A series of four experiments was performed to determine whether acute exposure to a range of 50 Hz magnetic fields had any effect on a learning task in adult male CD1 mice. A radial-arm maze placed within the bore of an electromagnet was used to assess spatial discrimination learning for food reward. Subjects were reduced to 85% of their free-feeding weight and were placed in the maze for up to 15 minutes each day for 10 days. Performance of the task was measured by using maximum likelihood techniques to calculate the probability that an animal would not reenter any given arm of the maze. Experimental subjects were exposed to a vertical, 50 Hz sinusoidal magnetic field at 5 μT, 50 μT, 0.5 mT, or 5.0 mT (rms). Control subjects were exposed only to a background time-varying field of less than 50 nT and the ambient static field of about 40 μT. The variation in the applied magnetic field was less than 5% except at the ends of the arms, where it approached 10%. It was found that all eight groups of subjects (n = 10 in all cases) showed similar increases in performance with testing, and the acquisition curve for each group of experimental subjects was not significantly different from that of their control group (P > 0.05 in all cases). It was concluded that exposure had no effect on learning at any flux density. This result is contrary to the findings of a number of preliminary studies, although other studies have reported that magnetic fields do not affect spatial learning in adult male rodents. It is possible that differences between experimental conditions might explain some of this apparent discrepancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-186
Number of pages7
JournalBioelectromagnetics
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Keywords

  • 50 Hz
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Memory
  • Radial-arm maze
  • Rodents

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