Microwave radiation may damage the blood brain barrier, according to this in vitro study. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Activation of VEGF/Flk-1-ERK Pathway Induced Blood-Brain Barrier Injury After Microwave Exposure.
Mol Neurobiol. 2015 Aug ;52(1):478-91. Epub 2014 Sep 9. PMID: 25195697
Microwaves have been suggested to induce neuronal injury and increase permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), but the mechanism remains unknown. The role of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/Flk-1-Raf/MAPK kinase (MEK)/extracellular-regulated protein kinase (ERK) pathway in structural and functional injury of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) following microwave exposure was examined. An in vitro BBB model composed of the ECV304 cell line and primary rat cerebral astrocytes was exposed to microwave radiation (50 mW/cm(2), 5 min). The structure was observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the permeability was assessed by measuring transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) and horseradish peroxidase (HRP) transmission. Activity and expression of VEGF/Flk-1-ERK pathway components and occludin also were examined. Our results showed that microwave radiation caused intercellular tight junctions to broaden and fracture with decreased TEER values and increased HRP permeability. After microwave exposure, activation of the VEGF/Flk-1-ERK pathway and Tyr phosphorylation of occludin were observed, along with down-regulated expression and interaction of occludin with zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1). After Flk-1 (SU5416) and MEK1/2 (U0126) inhibitors were used, the structure and function of the BBB were recovered. The increase in expression of ERK signal transduction molecules was muted, while the expression and the activity of occludin were accelerated, as well as the interactions of occludin with p-ERK and ZO-1 following microwave radiation. Thus, microwave radiation may induce BBB damage by activating the VEGF/Flk-1-ERK pathway, enhancing Tyr phosphorylation of occludin, while partially inhibiting expression and interaction of occludin with ZO-1.