SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells were used as an experimental model to study the effects of 50 Hz electromagnetic field, in the range from 50 µT to 1.4 mT. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis evidenced a reduction in intensity of the amide A band and a slight increase of vibration bands at 2921 cm(−1) and 2853 cm(−1) corresponding to methylene groups. A further increase of the magnetic field intensity of exposure up to 0.8 mT and 1.4 mT produced a clear increase in intensity of CH2 vibration bands. Moreover, it has been observed some alterations in the amide I region, such as a shifted peak of the amide I band to a smaller wavenumber, probably due to protein conformational changes. These results suggested that exposure to extremely low electromagnetic fields influenced lipid components of cellular membrane and the N–H in-plane bending and C–N stretching vibrations of peptide linkages, modifying the secondary structures of α-helix and β-sheet contents and producing unfolding process in cell membrane proteins. The observed changes after exposure to 50 Hz electromagnetic field higher than 0.8 mT were associated with a significant reduction of cell viability and reduced mitochondrial transmembrane potential.
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