Effects of 50 Hz magnetic fields on circadian rhythm control in mice

Louise Lundberg, Zenon Sienkiewicz, Daniel C. Anthony, Kerry Broom*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Artificial light and power frequency magnetic fields are ubiquitous in the built environment. Light is a potent zeitgeber but it is unclear whether power frequency magnetic fields can influence circadian rhythm control. To study this possibility, 8–12-week-old male C57BL/6J mice were exposed for 30 min starting at zeitgeber time 14 (ZT14, 2 h into the dark period of the day) to 50 Hz magnetic fields at 580 μT using a pair of Helmholtz coils and/or a blue LED light at 700 lux or neither. Our experiments revealed an acute adrenal response to blue light, in terms of increased adrenal per1 gene expression, increased serum corticosterone levels, increased time spent sleeping, and decreased locomotor activity (in all cases, P < 0.0001) compared to an unexposed control group. There appeared to be no modulating effect of the magnetic fields on the response to light, and there was also no effect of the magnetic fields alone (in both cases, P > 0.05) except for a decrease in locomotor activity (P < 0.03). Gene expression of the cryptochromes cry1 and cry2 in the adrenals, liver, and hippocampus was also not affected by exposures (in all cases, P > 0.05). In conclusion, these results suggest that 50 Hz magnetic fields do not significantly affect the acute light response to a degree that can be detected in the adrenal response. Bioelectromagnetics. 2019;9999:XX–XX.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-259
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
LL was awarded a PhD studentship by Public Health England and these studies form part of her thesis submitted for a D Phil degree to the University of Oxford. We are also extremely grateful to Prof. Jim Metcalfe and the EMF Biological Research Trust for funding preliminary work on the light shock experiment; to Tony Hickman, Department of Physics, University of Oxford for advice regarding construction of the Helmholtz coils; and to Dr. Marina Khazova, Public Health England Chilton, for the optical measurements.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Bioelectromagnetics Society


  • ELF
  • animals
  • behavior
  • biological clock
  • clock genes


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of 50 Hz magnetic fields on circadian rhythm control in mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this