Biological effects of in vitro THz radiation exposure in human foetal fibroblasts

Andrea De Amicis, Stefania De Sanctis, Sara Di Cristofaro, Valeria Franchini, Florigio Lista, Elisa Regalbuto, Emilio Giovenale, Gian Piero Gallerano, Paolo Nenzi, Roberto Bei, Massimo Fantini, Monica Benvenuto, Laura Masuelli, Elisa Coluzzi, Cristina Cicia, Antonella Sgura

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23 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, terahertz (THz) radiation has been widely used in a variety of applications: medical, security, telecommunications and military areas. However, few data are available on the biological effects of this type of electromagnetic radiation and the reported results, using different genetic or cellular assays, are quite discordant. This multidisciplinary study focuses on potential genotoxic and cytotoxic effects, evaluated by several end-points, associated with THz radiation. For this purpose, in vitro exposure of human foetal fibroblasts to low frequency THz radiation (0.1-0.15. THz) was performed using a Compact Free Electron Laser. We did not observe an induction of DNA damage evaluated by Comet assay, phosphorylation of H2AX histone or telomere length modulation. In addiction, no induction of apoptosis or changes in pro-survival signalling proteins were detected. Moreover, our results indicated an increase in the total number of micronuclei and centromere positive micronuclei induction evaluated by CREST analysis, indicating that THz radiation could induce aneugenic rather than clastogenic effects, probably leading to chromosome loss. Furthermore, an increase of actin polymerization observed by ultrastructural analysis after THz irradiation, supports the hypothesis that an abnormal assembly of spindle proteins could lead to the observed chromosomal malsegregation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150 - 160
Number of pages11
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Amicis, A. D., Sanctis, S. D., Cristofaro, S. D., Franchini, V., Lista, F., Regalbuto, E., ... Sgura, A. (2015). Biological effects of in vitro THz radiation exposure in human foetal fibroblasts. Mutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, 793, 150 - 160.