A 50 Hz sinusoidal magnetic field induces changes in the membrane electrical properties of K562 leukaemic cells

Maria Teresa Santini, Cesare Cametti, Silvia Paradisi, Elisabetta Straface, Gianfranco Donelli, Pietro Luigi Indovina, Walter Malorni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The cell membrane appears to be one of the major targets of extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields. To determine whether the membrane electrical properties of K562l leukaemic cells can be affected by ELF fields, these cells were exposed to a sinusoidal 50 Hz 2.5 mT magnetic field for 48 h. It should be recalled that the field intensity used is three or four orders of magnitude greater than the values found in homes and in many workplaces. Analyses of dielectric relaxation measurements in the r.f. range demonstrate that both the membrane electrical conductivity and permittivity of K562 cells decrease considerably after exposure of these cells to ELF fields, whereas the conductivity of the cytosol does not vary. Since both membrane conductivity (a measure of the dynamic ionic movement across cell membranes) and membrane permittivity (an indicator of the ionic charges present on cell membranes) vary, these data seem to suggest that exposure of K562 leukaemic cells to ELF fields affects both static and dynamic properties of these cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalBioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995



  • 50 Hz magnetic field
  • K562 erythroleukaemic cells
  • Maxwell-Wagner effect
  • Membrane electrical properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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