The possible consequences for cognitive functions of external electric fields at power line frequency on hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons
Eur J Neurosci. 2016-07-26; 45(8): 1024-1031
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1. Eur J Neurosci. 2017 Apr;45(8):1024-1031. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13325. Epub 2016 Jul
The possible consequences for cognitive functions of external electric fields at
power line frequency on hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons.
Migliore R(1), De Simone G(1), Leinekugel X(2)(3), Migliore M(1).
(1)Institute of Biophysics, National Research Council, via Ugo La Malfa 153,
90146, Palermo, Italy.
(2)Neurocentre Magendie, Physiopathology of neuronal plasticity, U1215, INSERM,
(3)Neurocentre Magendie, Physiopathology of Neuronal Plasticity, U1215,
University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.
The possible effects on cognitive processes of external electric fields, such as
those generated by power line pillars and household appliances are of increasing
public concern. They are difficult to study experimentally, and the relatively
scarce and contradictory evidence make it difficult to clearly assess these
effects. In this study, we investigate how, why and to what extent external
perturbations of the intrinsic neuronal activity, such as those that can be
caused by generation, transmission and use of electrical energy can affect
neuronal activity during cognitive processes. For this purpose, we used a
morphologically and biophysically realistic three-dimensional model of CA1
pyramidal neurons. The simulation findings suggest that an electric field
oscillating at power lines frequency, and environmentally measured strength, can
significantly alter both the average firing rate and temporal spike distribution
properties of a hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neuron. This effect strongly depends on
the specific and instantaneous relative spatial location of the neuron with
respect to the field, and on the synaptic input properties. The model makes
experimentally testable predictions on the possible functional consequences for
normal hippocampal functions such as object recognition and spatial navigation.
The results suggest that, although EF effects on cognitive processes may be
difficult to occur in everyday life, their functional consequences deserve some
consideration, especially when they constitute a systematic presence in living
© 2016 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
PMID: 27374169 [Indexed for MEDLINE]