Effect of pulsed electromagnetic field on inflammatory pathway markers in RAW 264.7 murine macrophages

Christina L Ross1,2
Benjamin S Harrison2

1Akamai University, Department of Energy Medicine, Hilo, HI, USA; 2Wake Forest Institute for

Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Winston-Salem,


Abstract: In the treatment of bacterial infections, antibiotics have proven to be very effective, but the way in which antibiotics are dosed can create a lag time between the administration of the drug and its absorption at the site of insult. The time it takes an antibiotic to reach therapeutic levels can often be significantly increased if the vascular system is compromized. Bacteria can multiply pending the delivery of the drug, therefore, developing treatments that can inhibit the inflammatory response while waiting for antibiotics to take effect could help prevent medical conditions such as septic shock. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a pulsed electromagnetic field on the production of inflammatory markers tumor necrosis factor (TNF), transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NFkB), and the expression of the A20 (tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced protein 3), in an inflamed-cell model. Lipopolysaccharide-challenged cells were exposed to a pulsed electromagnetic field at various frequencies in order to determine which, if any, frequency would affect the TNF-NFkB-A20 inflammatory response pathway. Our study revealed that cells continuously exposed to a pulsed electromagnetic field at 5 Hz demonstrated significant changes in the downregulation of TNF-α and NFkB and also showed a trend in the down regulation of A20, as compared with controls. This treatment could be beneficial in modulating the immune response, in the presence of infection.