The 5G and its possible effects on health

5G SAMU (5G Signals and Multiple Exposures: Searching for Cellular and Molecular Effects) is funded by ANSES and focuses on the stress in the mitochondrial and the endoplasmic reticulum in cultured skin cells exposed to a 5 GHz signal at 3.5 GHz. It will be completed by the end of 2023. 

The Nouvelle Aquitaine council funded SEVES (Conception de Systèmes d’Expositions à Vingt-six GHz pour Evaluation d’Effets biologiqueS chez l’animal ou les cellules) is supporting the 2 following projects, through its participation to the recruitment of 2 post-doctoral students.

5G expOsure, causaL effects, and rIsk perception through citizen engAgemenT(2022-2027)

Our contribution within Goliat rely on the Concept 7 of the project :

Using an integrative approach including in vitro, in vivo, humans, and in silico experiments will help to estimate valid causal effects in RF-EMF biological research.

Within GOLIAT, we will contribute to this innovative integrative approach with in vitro and in vivo experiments to understand the potential causal biological effects of 5G exposure. This approach will be applied to study the 3 main biological outcomes that emerged from the literature review as the most plausible 5G RF-EMF targets: brain function (WP4), thermoregulation, and radical stress (WP5). In vitro experiments (2D skin cell cultures) will allow for testing human cells and biological endpoints of relevance for human health, in relation to 5G (0.7 ; 3.5, and 26 GHz), with a wide range of exposure conditions (WP3). Direct and indirect effects of 5G will then be tested, for instance, to assess whether a primary biological effect such as the production of ROS can lead to toxicological effects such as programmed cell death (i.e. apoptosis). With regards to the basic biophysical interaction of 5G with the life matter leading to tissue heating, in vivo experiments are of utmost importance in this field as the physiological thermoregulation process controls the temperature increase by contrast to cells in a culture incubator (where cell heating is one possible bias). Regarding brain function, we will apply a battery of behavioural and cognitive tests in mice. We consider rodents an appropriate choice due to the high degree of evolutionary conservation of the basic mechanisms of brain structure and development, of maturation between rodents and humans and the relatively fast development of their brain.

Together with molecular/atomistic simulations in silico approaches (that offer the potential of uniquely detailed, atomic-level insight into mechanisms, dynamics, and processes) and human experiments (the gold standard models for human health risk assessment), our work will be conducted to validate our hypothesis on the effects of RF-EMF on radical stress, brain functions, and thermoregulation.

Exposure To electromAgneticfIelds and plaNetary health(2022-2027)

Our contribution within ETAIN is relative to the objective 5/ WP5 of the project, which addresses possible long-term effects of RF-EMF exposure (5 G signals at 3.5 and 26 GHz) on human health, with skin and the eye becoming particularly relevant biological targets. 

RF-EMF tissue heating due to dielectric-relaxation is a well characterized effect but other mechanisms such as oxidative stress in cells and whole organisms are controversially debated questions (ongoing WHO systematic review, SCENIHR 2013). The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS)plays a key role in both health and disease. They are secondary messengers of many cellular functions (e.g., mitochondrial respiratory processes, immune defence) but also induce alterations participating in the pathogenesis of diseases (e.g., cancer, neurodegenerative diseases) and in ageing, through the induction of inflammation and DNA damage, among other events.

ETAIN will be performed in compliance with the 3R (Replace, Reduce, Refine) rule concerning the reduction of animal experimentation. We will determine in real-time whether RF-EMF impact ROS production and the DNA damage response in live human skin cells. We will use 3D-cell cultures, which, in comparison with cells grown in 2D on flat surfaces, reproduce more accurately tissue structure (each cell interacts with adjacent cells via the formation of junctions ensuring cellular cohesion and communication). The presence of ROS and/or the expression of genes involved in ROS signaling will then be assessed in 3D-skin and -eye models (and in the Drosophila model; University of Montpellier). We will finally investigate how the cell functionality could be impacted by assessing parameters such as apoptosis, changes in the extracellular matrix structures (IPBS, Toulouse), and the inflammatory process.

We will also use transcriptomics to screen, for the first time, the biological effects at the gene expression level and provide a picture of the potential effects of a 26 GHz signal in the 3D human skin model (Eindhoven University as subcontractor). Moreover, using the emerging metabolomicstechnique, we will test whether exposure at 26 GHz could impact the endo- and extra-cellular extracts metabolome of reconstructed human skin, and produce, among others, oxidative derivatives.

ETAIN will be able to conclude whether there is a causal link between exposure to 5G RF-EMF and adverse effects on skin and the eye in relation with oxidative stress.

Contact our team

If you have a request or questions about the laboratory, please contact our team.