Among the many biological effects caused by low intensity extremely high frequency electromagnetic fields (EHF-EMF) reported in the literature, those on the nervous system are a promising area for further research. The mechanisms by which these fields alter neural activity are still unclear and thus far there appears to be no frequency dependence regarding neuronal responses. Therefore, proper in vitro models for preliminary screening studies of the interaction between neural cells with EMF are needed. We designed an artificial axon model consisting of a series of parallel RC networks. Each RC network contained an aqueous solution of lipid vesicles with a gradient of potassium (K+) concentration as the functional element. We investigated the effects of EHF-EMF (53.37 GHz-39 mW) on the propagation of the electric impulse. We report that exposure to the EHF-EMF increases the amplitude of electrical signal by inducing a potassium efflux from lipid vesicles. Further, exposure to the EHF-EMF potentiates the action of valinomycin - a K+ carrier - increasing the extent of K+ transport across the lipid membrane. We conclude that exposure to the EHF-EMF facilitates the electrical signal propagation by increasing transmembrane potassium efflux, and that the model presented is promising for future screening studies of different EMF frequency spectrum bands.
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