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Exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields alters the behaviour, physiology and stress protein levels of desert locusts

Exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields alters the behaviour, physiology and stress protein levels of desert locusts
Exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields alters the behaviour, physiology and stress protein levels of desert locusts
Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are present throughout the modern world and are derived from many man-made sources including overhead transmission lines. The risks of extremely-low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields are particularly poorly understood especially at high field strengths as they are rarely encountered at ground level. Flying insects, however, can approach close to high field strength transmission lines prompting the question as to how these high levels of exposure affect behaviour and physiology. Here we utilise the accessible nervous system of the locust to ask how exposure to high levels of ELF EMF impact at multiple levels. We show that exposure to ELF EMFs above 4 mT leads to reduced walking. Moreover, intracellular recordings from an identified motor neuron, the fast extensor tibiae motor neuron, show increased spike latency and a broadening of its spike in exposed animals. In addition, hind leg kick force, produced by stimulating the extensor tibiae muscle, was reduced following exposure, while stress-protein levels (Hsp70) increased. Together these results suggest that ELF EMF exposure has the capacity to cause dramatic effects from behaviour to physiology and protein expression, and this study lays the foundation to explore the ecological significance of these effects in other flying insects.
1-9
Wyszkowska, Joanna
c3df96c0-dbb6-42e8-85a8-2f660abb1935
Shepherd, Sebastian
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Sharkh, Suleiman
c8445516-dafe-41c2-b7e8-c21e295e56b9
Jackson, Christopher W.
ab14e7be-1b25-4425-9e8f-6ccee5b984a8
Newland, Philip L.
7a018c0e-37ba-40f5-bbf6-49ab0f299dbb
Wyszkowska, Joanna
c3df96c0-dbb6-42e8-85a8-2f660abb1935
Shepherd, Sebastian
42dcec23-42cf-4941-8df0-fcb75da4223e
Sharkh, Suleiman
c8445516-dafe-41c2-b7e8-c21e295e56b9
Jackson, Christopher W.
ab14e7be-1b25-4425-9e8f-6ccee5b984a8
Newland, Philip L.
7a018c0e-37ba-40f5-bbf6-49ab0f299dbb

Wyszkowska, Joanna, Shepherd, Sebastian, Sharkh, Suleiman, Jackson, Christopher W. and Newland, Philip L. (2016) Exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields alters the behaviour, physiology and stress protein levels of desert locusts. Scientific Reports, 6, 1-9, [36413]. (doi:10.1038/srep36413).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are present throughout the modern world and are derived from many man-made sources including overhead transmission lines. The risks of extremely-low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields are particularly poorly understood especially at high field strengths as they are rarely encountered at ground level. Flying insects, however, can approach close to high field strength transmission lines prompting the question as to how these high levels of exposure affect behaviour and physiology. Here we utilise the accessible nervous system of the locust to ask how exposure to high levels of ELF EMF impact at multiple levels. We show that exposure to ELF EMFs above 4 mT leads to reduced walking. Moreover, intracellular recordings from an identified motor neuron, the fast extensor tibiae motor neuron, show increased spike latency and a broadening of its spike in exposed animals. In addition, hind leg kick force, produced by stimulating the extensor tibiae muscle, was reduced following exposure, while stress-protein levels (Hsp70) increased. Together these results suggest that ELF EMF exposure has the capacity to cause dramatic effects from behaviour to physiology and protein expression, and this study lays the foundation to explore the ecological significance of these effects in other flying insects.

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Accepted/In Press date: 13 October 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 November 2016
Published date: 3 November 2016
Organisations: Environmental

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 403416
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/403416
PURE UUID: 1ce638c5-7c7f-42e0-8b96-e51ea1854353
ORCID for Suleiman Sharkh: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7335-8503
ORCID for Philip L. Newland: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4124-8507

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Date deposited: 30 Nov 2016 12:13
Last modified: 08 Jun 2022 01:34

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Contributors

Author: Joanna Wyszkowska
Author: Sebastian Shepherd
Author: Suleiman Sharkh ORCID iD

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