Static magnetic fields affect cell size, shape, orientation, and membrane surface of human glioblastoma cells, as demonstrated by electron, optic, and atomic force microscopy

Laura Teodori, Maria C. Albertini, Francesco Uguccioni, Elisabetta Falcieri, Marco B. L. Rocchi, Michela Battistelli, Carlo Coluzza, Giovanna Piantanida, Antonio Bergamaschi, Andrea Magrini, Raffaele Mucciato, Augusto Accorsi

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Background: It is common knowledge that static magnetic fields (SMF) do not interact with living cells; thus, fewer studies of SMF compared with variable magnetic fields are carried out. However, evidence demonstrated that SMF affect cellular structures. To investigate the effect of exposure to increasing doses of SMF on cell morphology, human glioblastoma cells were exposed to SMF ranging between 80 and 3,000 G (8 and 300 mT). Methods: Cell morphology of human glioblastoma cells, derived from a primary culture, was studied by electron and optic microscopy. FITC-phalloidin staining of actin filaments was also investigated. Finally, cell surface structure changes were detected by atomic force microscopy. Results: Scanning electron microscopy demonstrated a dose-dependent cell shape modification, progressive cell detachment, loss of the long villi, and appearance of membrane roughness and blebs. FITC-phalloidin staining confirmed the villi retention and cell dimension decrease. At 3,000 G, the appearance of apoptotic morphology was also observed by transmission electron microscopy. Cell exposed to SMF showed different orientation and alignment when compared with nonexposed cells. The atomic force microscopy of the exposed cells' membrane surfaces demonstrated the disappearance of the ordered surface ripples and furrows typical of the unexposed cells, and the occurrence of surface membrane corrugation at increasing dose exposure Conclusions: Our experimental procedures demonstrated that exposure to SMF affects not only cell size, shape, and orientation but also human glioblastoma cells' membrane surfaces. © 2006 International Society for Analytical Cytology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75 - 85
Number of pages11
JournalCytometry. Part A : the journal of the International Society for Analytical Cytology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Endocrinology

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