Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

Weak Electromagnetic Fields Accelerate Fusion of Myoblasts.


Weak electromagnetic fields (WEF) alter Ca2+ handling in skeletal muscle myotubes. Owing to the involvement of Ca2+ in muscle development, we investigated whether WEF affects fusion of myoblasts in culture. Rat primary myoblast cultures were exposed to WEF (1.75 µT, 16 Hz) for up to six days. Under control conditions, cell fusion and creatine kinase (CK) activity increased in parallel and peaked at 4-6 days. WEF enhanced the extent of fusion after one and two days (by ~40%) vs. control, but not thereafter. Exposure to WEF also enhanced CK activity after two days (almost four-fold), but not afterwards. Incorporation of 3H-thymidine into DNA was enhanced by one-day exposure to WEF (~40%), indicating increased cell replication. Using the potentiometric fluorescent dye di-8-ANEPPS, we found that exposure of cells to 150 mM KCl resulted in depolarization of the cell membrane. However, prior exposure of cells to WEF for one day followed by addition of KCl resulted in hyperpolarization of the cell membrane. Acute exposure of cells to WEF also resulted in hyperpolarization of the cell membrane. Twenty-four hour incubation of myoblasts with gambogic acid, an inhibitor of the inward rectifying K+ channel 2.1 (Kir2.1), did not affect cell fusion, WEF-mediated acceleration of fusion or hyperpolarization. These data demonstrate that WEF accelerates fusion of myoblasts, resulting in myotube formation. The WEF effect is associated with hyperpolarization but WEF does not appear to mediate its effects on fusion by activating Kir2.1 channels.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View