Cytogenetic observations in human peripheral blood leukocytes following in vitro exposure to THz radiation: A pilot study

O. Zeni, G.P. Gallerano, A. Perrotta, M. Romanò, A. Sannino, M. Sarti, M. D'Arienzo, A. Doria, E. Giovenale, A. Lai, G. Messina, M.R. Scarfì

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Emerging technologies are considering the possible use of Terahertz radiation in different fields ranging from telecommunications to biology and biomedicine. The study of the potential effects of Terahertz radiation on biological systems is therefore an important issue in order to safely develop a variety of applications. This paper describes a pilot study devoted to determine if Terahertz radiation could induce genotoxic effects in human peripheral blood leukocytes. For this purpose, human whole blood samples from healthy donors were exposed for 20 min to Terahertz radiation. Since, to our knowledge, this is the first study devoted to the evaluation of possible genotoxic effects of such radiation, different electromagnetic conditions were considered. In particular, the frequencies of 120 and 130 GHz were chosen: the first one was tested at a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 0.4 mW g, while the second one was tested at SAR levels of 0.24, 1.4, and 2 mW g. Chromosomal damage was evaluated by means of the cytokinesis block micronucleus technique, which also gives information on cell cycle kinetics. Moreover, human whole blood samples exposed to 130 GHz at SAR levels of 1.4 and 2 mW g were also tested for primary DNA damage by applying the alkaline comet assay immediately after exposure. The results obtained indicate that THz exposure, in the explored electromagnetic conditions, is not able to induce either genotoxicity or alteration of cell cycle kinetics in human blood cells from healthy subjects. ©2007Health Physics Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349 - 357
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Zeni, O., Gallerano, G. P., Perrotta, A., Romanò, M., Sannino, A., Sarti, M., ... Scarfì, M. R. (2007). Cytogenetic observations in human peripheral blood leukocytes following in vitro exposure to THz radiation: A pilot study. Health Physics, 92(4), 349 - 357.