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The scientific research on the therapeutic use of electromagnetic waves dates back on the 19th Century and one of the pioneers was the gifted scientist Nikola Tesla. Tesla saw the healing potential of high-frequency currents and wrote an article in titled 1898 article “High Frequency Oscillators for Electrotherapeutic and Other Purposes” . Since than several outstanding scientists evalated the healing effects of electromagnetic waves. 

Two time nobel laurate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi(1960) wrote that “The living cell is essentially an electrical device..."  and biochemical explanations alone fail to explain the role of electricity in cellular regulation.

Clarence Cone Jr. documented the importance of transmembrane potential in the regulation of cell division in his various research papers such as “Variation of the transmembrane potential level as a basic mechanism of mitosis control” or “The role of the surface electrical transmembrane potential in normal and malignant mitogenesis”.

Below you find few scientific research papers regarding the use of electromagnetic waves for therapeutic purposes especially in the field of cancer and arthritis, an overview of other uses and the importance of transmembrane potential. Thousands of other research documents are accessible for interested parties.

Effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields on articular hyaline cartilage: review of experimental and clinical studies

Effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields on articular hyaline cartilage: review of experimental and clinical studiesAbstract
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common disorder of the musculoskeletal system and is a consequence of mechanical and biological events that destabilize tissue homeostasis in articular joints. Controlling chondrocyte death and apoptosis, function, response to anabolic and catabolic stimuli, matrix synthesis or degradation and inflammation is the most important target of potential chondroprotective treatment, aimed to retard or stabilize the progression of OA. Although many drugs or substances have been recently introduced for the treatment of OA, the majority of them relieve pain and increase function, but do not modify the complex pathological processes that occur in these tissues. Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) have a number of well-documented physiological effects on cells and tissues including the upregulation of gene expression of members of the transforming growth factor b super family, the increase in glycosaminoglycan levels, and an antiinflammatory action. Therefore, there is a strong rationale supporting the in vivo use of biophysical stimulation with PEMFs for the treatment of OA. In the present paper some recent experimental in vitro and in vivo data on the effect of PEMFs on articular cartilage were reviewed. These data strongly support the clinical use of PEMFs in OA patients.

Modification of osteoarthritis by pulsed electromagnetic field—a morphological study

Modification of osteoarthritis by pulsed electromagnetic field—a morphological studySummary
Objective: Hartley guinea pigs spontaneously develop arthritis that bears morphological, biochemical, and immunohistochemical similarities to human osteoarthritis. It is characterized by the appearance of superficial fibrillation by 12 months of age and severe cartilage lesions and eburnation by 18 months of age. This study examines the effect of treatment with a pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) upon the morphological progression of osteoarthritis in this animal model.
Design: Hartley guinea pigs were exposed to a specific PEMF for 1 h/day for 6 months, beginning at 12 months of age. Control animals were treated identically, but without PEMF exposure. Tibial articular cartilage was examined with histological / histochemical grading of the severity of arthritis, by immunohistochemistry for cartilage neoepitopes, 3B3(−) and BC-13, reflecting enzymatic cleavage of aggrecan, and by immunoreactivity to collagenase (MMP-13) and stromelysin (MMP-3). Immunoreactivity to TGFβ, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL receptor antagonist protein (IRAP) antibodies was examined to suggest possible mechanisms of PEMF activity.
Results: PEMF treatment preserves the morphology of articular cartilage and retards the development of osteoarthritic lesions. This observation is supported by a reduction in the cartilage neoepitopes, 3B3(−) and BC-13, and suppression of the matrix-degrading enzymes,collagenase and stromelysin. Cells immunopositive to IL-1 are decreased in number, while IRAP-positive cells are increased in response totreatment. PEMF treatment markedly increases the number of cells immunopositive to TGFβ.
Conclusions: Treatment with PEMF appears to be disease-modifying in this model of osteoarthritis. Since TGFβ is believed to upregulate gene expression for aggrecan, downregulate matrix metalloprotease and IL-1 activity, and upregulate inhibitors of matrix metalloprotease,the stimulation of TGFβ may be a mechanism through which PEMF favorably affects cartilage homeostasis.

Proteoglycan synthesis in bovine articular cartilage explants exposed to different low-frequency low-energy pulsed electromagnetic fields

Proteoglycan synthesis in bovine articular cartilage explants exposed to different low-frequency low-energy pulsed electromagnetic fieldsSummary
Objective: To investigate the role of pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) exposure parameters (exposure length, magnetic field peak amplitude, pulse frequency) in the regulation of proteoglycan (PG) synthesis of bovine articular cartilage explants.
Methods: Bovine articular cartilage explants were exposed to a PEMF (75 Hz; 2 mT) for different time periods: 1, 4, 9, 24 h. Then, cartilageexplants were exposed for 24 h to PEMFs of different magnetic field peak amplitudes (0.5, 1, 1.5, 2 mT) and different frequencies (2, 37, 75, 110 Hz). PG synthesis of control and exposed explants was determined by Na2-35SO4 incorporation.
Results: PEMF exposure significantly increased PG synthesis ranging from 12% at 4 h to 17% at 24 h of exposure. At all the magnetic field peak amplitude values, a significant PG synthesis increase was measured in PEMF-exposed explants compared to controls, with maximal effect at 1.5 mT. No effect of pulse frequency was observed on PG synthesis stimulation.
Conclusions: The results of this study show the range of exposure length, PEMF amplitude, pulse frequency which can stimulate cartilage PG synthesis, and suggest optimal exposure parameters which may be useful for cartilage repair in in vivo experiments and clinical application.
 

Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields for Treating Osteo-arthritis

Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields for Treating Osteo-arthritisSummary
Background Osteo-arthritis, a painful joint disorder involving degenerative changes of the articular cartilage and subchondral bone, often results in progressive functional impairment and disability. One particular modality used by physiotherapists that shows very promising results in reducing the joint damage and pain found in osteo-arthritis is pulsed
electromagnetic fields.
Objective The present objective was to examine the
rationale for, and the potential efficacy of, applying pulsed electromagnetic fields for reducing joint pain and other related symptoms of osteo-arthritis.
Methods The related English language literature was
extensively reviewed to examine whether changes in pain might be expected from the application of pulsed electromagnetic fields to an osteo-arthritic joint, and why.
Results The basic and clinical research in this field, while somewhat limited, supports the insightful application of pulsed electromagnetic fields to ameliorate pain and disability due to osteo-arthritis.
Conclusion Further basic and clinical research to validate the use of pulsed electromagnetic fields in facilitating function and possibly in facilitating joint reparative processes in osteo-arthritis, as well the lessening of osteo-arthritic joint pain and joint dysfunction is indicated.

NMR exposure sensitizes tumor cells to apoptosis

NMR exposure sensitizes tumor cells to apoptosisNMR technology has dramatically contributed to the revolution of image diagnostic. NMR apparatuses use combinations of microwaves over a homogeneous strong (1 Tesla) static magnetic field. We had previously shown that low intensity (0.3–66 mT) static magnetic fields deeply affect apoptosis in a Ca2+ dependent fashion (Fanelli et al., 1999 FASEBJ., 13;95–102). The rationale of the present study is to examine whether exposure to the static magnetic fields of NMR can affect apoptosis induced on reporter tumor cells of haematopoietic origin. The impressive result was the strong increase (1.8–2.5 fold) of damage-induced apoptosis by NMR. This potentiation is due to cytosolic Ca2+ overload consequent to NMR-promoted Ca2+ influx, since it is prevented by intracellular (BAPTA-AM) and extracellular (EGTA) Ca2+ chelation or by inhibition of plasma membrane L-type Ca2+ channels. Three-days follow up of treated cultures shows that NMR decrease long term cell survival, thus increasing the efficiency of cytocidal treatments. Importantly, mononuclear white blood cells are not sensitised to apoptosis by NMR, showing that NMR may increase the differential cytotoxicity of antitumor drugs on tumor vs normal cells. This strong, differential potentiating effect of NMR on tumor cell apoptosis may have important implications, being in fact a possible adjuvant for antitumor therapies.

 

Effects of Pulsed Magnetic Stimulation onTumor Development and Immune Functions in Mice

Effects of Pulsed Magnetic Stimulation onTumor Development and Immune Functions in MiceWe investigated the effects of pulsed magnetic stimulation on tumor development processes and immune functions in mice. A circular coil (inner diameter¼15 mm, outer diameter¼75 mm) was used in the experiments. Stimulus conditions were pulse width¼238 ms, peak magnetic field¼0.25 T
(at the center of the coil), frequency¼25 pulses/s, 1000 pulses/sample/day and magnetically induced eddy currents in mice¼0.79–1.54 A/m2. In an animal study, B16-BL6 melanoma model mice were exposed to the pulsed magnetic stimulation for 16 days from the day of injection of cancer cells. A tumor growth study revealed a significant tumor weight decrease in the stimulated group (54%
of the sham group). In a cellular study, B16-BL6 cells were also exposed to the magnetic field (1000 pulses/sample, and eddy currents at the bottom of the dish¼2.36–2.90 A/m2); however, the magnetically induced eddy currents had no effect on cell viabilities. Cytokine production in mouse spleens was measured to analyze the immunomodulatory effect after the pulsed magnetic stimulation.

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF-a) production in mouse spleens was significantly activated after the exposure of the stimulus condition described above. These results showed the first evidence of the antitumor effect and immunomodulatory effects brought about by the application of repetitive magnetic stimulation and also suggested the possible relationship between anti-tumor effects and the increase of TNF-a levels caused by pulsed magnetic stimulation.

Increased Mouse Survival, Tumor Growth Inhibition and Decreased Immunoreactive p53 After Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields

Increased Mouse Survival, Tumor Growth Inhibition and Decreased Immunoreactive p53 After Exposure to Electromagnetic FieldsThe possibility that magnetic fields (MF) cause antitumor activity in vivo has been investiated. Two different experiments have been carried out on nude mice bearing a subcutaneous human colon adenocarcinoma (WiDR). In the first experiment, significant increase in survival time (31%) was obtained in mice exposed daily to 70 min modulated MF (static with a superimposition of 50 Hz) having a time average total intensity of 5.5 mT. In the second independent experiment, when mice bearing tumors were exposed to the same treatment for four consecutive weeks, significant inhibition of tumor growth (40%) was reported, together with a decrement in tumor cell mitotic index and proliferative activity. A significant increase in apoptosis was found in tumors of treated animals, together with a reduction in immunoreactive p53 expression. Gross pathology at necroscopy, hematoclinical/hematological and histological examination did not show any adverse or abnormal effects. Since pharmacological rescue of mutant p53 conformation has been recently demonstrated, the authors suggest that MF exposure may obtain a similar effect by acting on redox chemistry connected to metal ions which control p53 folding and its DNA-binding activity. These findings support further investigation aimed at the potential use of magnetic fields as anti-cancer agents.  

 

EXTREMELY LOW FREQUENCY (ELF) PULSED-GRADIENT MAGNETIC FIELDS INHIBIT MALIGNANT TUMOUR GROWTH AT DIFFERENT BIOLOGICAL LEVELS

EXTREMELY LOW FREQUENCY (ELF) PULSED-GRADIENT MAGNETIC FIELDS INHIBIT MALIGNANT TUMOUR GROWTH AT DIFFERENT BIOLOGICAL LEVELSExtremely low frequency (ELF) pulsed-gradient magnetic field (with the maximum intensity of
0.6–2.0 T, gradient of 10–100 T · M_1, pulse width of 20–200 ms and frequency of 0.16–1.34 Hz treatment of mice can inhibit murine malignant tumour growth, as seen from analyses at
different hierarchical levels, from organism, organ, to tissue, and down to cell and macromolecules.
Such magnetic fields induce apoptosis of cancer cells, and arrest neoangiogenesis,
preventing a supply developing to the tumour. The growth of sarcomas might be amenable to such new method of treatment.

Increasing cell membrane potential and GABAergic activity inhibits malignant hepatocyte growth

Increasing cell membrane potential and GABAergic activity inhibits malignant hepatocyte growthIncreasing hepatocyte membrane potentials by augmenting GABAergic activity inhibits nonmalignant hepatocyte proliferative activity. The objectives of this study were to document 1) potential differences (PDs) of four malignant hepatocyte cell lines, 2) GABAA receptor mRNA expression in the same cell lines, and 3) effects of restoring malignant hepatocyte PDs to levels approximating those of resting, nonmalignant hepatocytes. Hepatocyte PDs were documented in nonmalignant and malignant (Chang, HepG2, HuH-7, and PLC/PRF/5) hepatocytes with a fluorescent voltage-sensitive dye and GABAA receptor expression by RT-PCR and Western blot analyses.Compared with nonmalignant human hepatocytes, all four malignant cell lines were significantly depolarized (P _0.0001, respectively). Only PLC/PRF/5 cells had detectable GABAA-_3 receptor mRNA expression and all cell lines were negative for GABAA-_3 receptor protein by Western blot analysis. Stable transfection of Chang cells with GABAA-_3 receptor cDNA resulted in significant increases in PD and decreases in proliferative activity as manifest by decreased [3H]thymidine and bromodeoxyurieine incorporation rates, 4-[3-(4-lodophenyl)-2-(4-nitrophenyl)-2H-5-tetrazolio]-1,3- benzene disulfonate activity, a lower mitotic index, prolongation of cell-doubling times, and attenuated growth patterns compared with cells transfected with vector alone. Colony formation in soft agar and the number of abnormal mitoses were also significantly decreased in GABAA-_3 receptor transfected cells. The results of this study indicate 1) relative to healthy hepatocytes, malignant hepatocytes are significantly depolarized, 2) GABAA-_3 receptor expression is absent in malignant hepatocyte cell lines, and 3) increasing the PD of malignant hepatocytes is associated with less proliferative activity and a loss of malignant features.
 

Carcinogenesis and the plasma membrane

Carcinogenesis and the plasma membraneSummary
Presented is a two-stage hypothesis of carcinogenesis based on: (1) plasma membrane defects that produce abnormal electron and proton efflux; and (2) electrical uncoupling of cells through loss of intercellular communication. These changes can be induced by a wide variety of stimuli including chemical carcinogens, oncoviruses, inherited and/or acquired genetic defects, and epigenetic abnormalities. The resulting loss of electron/proton homeostasis leads to decreased transmembrane potential, electrical microenvironment alterations, decreased extracellular pH, and increased intracellular pH. This produces a positive feedback loop to enhance and sustain the proton/electron efflux and loss of intercellular communication. Low transmembrane potential is functionally related to rapid cell cycling, changes in membrane structure, and malignancy. Intracellular alkalinization affects a variety of pH-sensitive systems including glycolysis, DNA synthesis, DNA transcription and DNA repair, and promotes genetic instability, accounting for the accumulation of genetic defects seen in malignancy. The abnormal microenvironment results in the selective survival and proliferation of malignant cells at the expense of contiguous normal cell populations.

Contact inhibition of division: Involvement of the electrical transmembrane potential

Clarence D. Cone , Max Tongier Journal of Cellular Physiology Volume 82, Issue 3, Pages 373 - 386

Measurements of simultaneous mitotic activity, electrical transmembrane potential (Em), and cell density levels in both 3T3 and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell cultures reveal that a 5- to 6-fold increase in the Em level is associated with development of mitotic arrest at saturation densities. This rise occurs both in confluent monolayers and in interior areas of isolated colonies, and is independent of the rate at which confluence is attained. The Em rise is accompanied by a substantial decrease in intracellular Na. Electron microscopy of saturated CHO monolayer sections shows from 46 to 63% of the cell surfaces to be in close apposition (<300 Å spacing). These results for contact inhibited cultures support the hypothesis that mitotic activity may be functionally coupled with the Em level and associated ionic concentration levels. It is suggested that contact inhibition of mitosis may result from a reduction in synthesis of mitogenically essential RNA following a decrease in intracellular Na produced by contact-induced alteration of surface ion-transport activity
 

Cellular potentials of normal and cancerous fibroblasts and hepatocytes.   

Binggeli R, Cameron IL Cancer Research  1980 Jun;40(6):1830-5.

Several lines of investigation point to differences in electrical properties between normal and cancerous cells. Several tumor lines have low-resting membrane potentials. A few comparisons have been made between normal and tumor cells within the same tissue cell type. This study compares the cellular or transmembrane potential of hepatocytes and fibroblasts in both normal and tumor cells. High-impedance micropipets were used to record intracellularly in vivo in Buffalo rat hepatocytes and Morris 7777 hepatoma cells, as well as A/J mouse corneal fibroblasts and poorly differentiated fibrosarcoma cells. Rat hepatocytes had a mean membrane potential of -37.1 +/- 4.3 (S.D.) mV compared to -19.8 +/- 7.1 mV in the hepatoma cells. Mouse corneal fibroblasts measured -42.5 +/- 5.4 mV, while cells of mouse fibrosarcoma were -14.3 +/- 5.4 mV. The membrane potentials of the tumor cells were lower in both instances than in their normal counterpart (statistically significant at p = 0.001 for both tissue cell types). This supports the notion that lower cellular or membrane potentials may play a significant role in the altered physiology of the tumor cell.

Deficits in elevating membrane potential of rat fibrosarcoma cells after cell contact

Binggeli R, Weinstein RC Cancer Research  1985 Jan;45(1):235-41.

Most cancer cells are known to have lower resting cellular potentials than do their normal counterparts. This study investigates how these potentials establish themselves during growth and cellular contact in tissue culture. Normal quail embryonic fibroblasts and quail fibrosarcoma (QT-35) and normal rat kidney cells and rat fibrosarcoma (from rat fibroblasts chemically transformed by nitroquinoline oxide) were recorded intracellularly using high-impedance micropipets. In high-density high-contact cultures, both quail and rat cancer cells had lower potentials than did normal cells (-20.7 compared to -40.1 mV for quail and -30.7 compared to -61.9 mV for rat). In low-density mitotically synchronous cultures, the rat cells were recorded every 4 hr for 96 hr. Starting at a low density, normal cell membrane potential is maintained at a low level through subsequent cell divisions. Without any additional change in cell density, the potential suddenly elevates to a high level. The membrane potential of cancer cells is by contrast unrelated either to cell density or to time. Cancer cells maintained an intermediate potential from low to very high densities and never elevated their potential to high values. The failure of cancer cells to reach high potentials may be linked to their uncontrolled cell division.

 

Calcium ion and the membrane potential of tumor cells

Binggeli R, Weinstein RC, Stevenson D Cancer Biochemisry Biophysics 1994 Oct;14(3):201-10.

Calcium ion affects ion permeability and membrane potential among many other aspects of cell function. Initial effects of increasing extracellular calcium upon membrane potential were studied in a quail fibrosarcoma (QT35) where calcium had a dose dependent effect, and normal quail fibroblasts, where there was little effect. Comparisons were then made in six different human hepatocellular carcinomas (Tong, HepG2, Hep3B, PLC/PRF/5, Mahlavu, and HA22T) in response to smaller changes in concentration. There were insignificant changes in membrane potential in two cell lines and significant elevations in four. Cytolysis by natural killer cells also declined in rough proportion to the increase in membrane potential. The less differentiated hepatocellular carcinoma cells have both higher baseline membrane potentials and a greater potential increase to increased calcium. By contrast, more highly differentiated tumor cells had paradoxically smaller membrane potentials and along with normal cells had small potential responses to calcium increases.

Therapeutic Uses of Pulsed Magnetic Field Exposure – A Review

Therapeutic Uses of Pulsed Magnetic Field Exposure – A Review1. Introduction
Bioelectromagnetics is the study of the interaction between non-ionizing electromagnetic fields and biological systems. In the extremely low frequency (ELF, ? 300Hz, [1, 2, 3]) part of the electromagnetic spectrum, experimental therapies have been emerging for a variety of medical conditions, such as non-union bone fractures, skin ulcers, migraines, and degenerative nerves. Pulsed electromagnetic fields have been used as therapeutic agents over the last 40 years, following convincing evidence that electric currents can accelerate bone formation [4]. Specifically, electromagnetic-field stimulation gained credibility as a therapy following observations that the application of physical stress on bones promoted the formation of very small electric currents that are related to bone formation. A similar mechanism has been observed for cartilage, whereby electrical stimulation of chondrocytes increased the synthesis of the major component of cartilage matrix, known as proteogylcans [5].
 

Low Energy Pulsing Electromagnetic Fields Modify Biomedical Processes

Low Energy Pulsing Electromagnetic Fields Modify Biomedical Processes Summary
Low-energy, pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) have reversed therapeutically resistant pathologic processes in the musculo-skeletal system. Their development as a non-thermal therapeutic agent is based on 30 years of study of the electro-biological properties of connective tissues. Specific energy characteristics in applied PEMFs produce selected biological effects by modifying synthetic and other behavioral patterns of target cells; some mechanisms of action are defined. The technology appears safe and effective in clinical treatment of un-united fractures, avascular necrosis of bone, and chronic, refractory tendinitis. An expanding, rational use in biomedical science is predicted.

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