Selective changes in locomotor activity in mice due to low-intensity microwaves amplitude modulated in the EEG spectral domain

Vincent Van Eeghem, Anissa El Arfani, Arta Anthoula, Laura Walrave, Ali Pourkazemi, Eduard Mihai Bentea, Thomas Demuyser, Ilse Smolders, Johan Stiens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the numerous benefits of microwave applications in our daily life, microwaves were associated with diverse neurological complaints such as headaches and impaired sleep patterns, and changes in the electroencephalogram (EEG). To which extent microwaves influence the brain function remains unclear. This exploratory study assessed the behavior and neurochemistry in mice immediately or 4 weeks after a 6-day exposure to low-intensity 10-GHz microwaves with an amplitude modulation (AM) of 2 or 8 Hz. These modulation frequencies of 2 and 8 Hz are situated within the delta and theta-alpha frequency bands in the EEG spectrum and are associated with sleep and active behavior, respectively. During these experiments, the specific absorbance rate was 0.3 W/kg increasing the brain temperature with 0.23 °C. For the first time, exposing mice to 8-Hz AM significantly reduced locomotor activity in an open field immediately after exposure which normalized after 4 weeks. This in contrast to 2-Hz AM which didn't induce significant changes in locomotor activity immediately and 4 weeks after exposure. Despite this difference in motor behavior, no significant changes in striatal dopamine (DA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) levels and DOPAC/DA turnover nor in cortical glutamate (GLU) concentrations were detected. In all cases, no effects on motor coordination on a rotarod, spatial working memory, anxiety nor depressive-like behavior were observed. The outcome of this study indicates that exposing mice to low-intensity 8-Hz AM microwaves can alter the locomotor activity in contrast to 2-Hz AM which did not affect the tested behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2017


  • active behavior
  • dopamine
  • glutamate
  • microwave exposure


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