Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields induce neural differentiation in bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells

Hyun Jung Kim, Jessica Jung, Jee Hye Park, Jin Hee Kim, Kyung Nam Ko, Chan Wha Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) affect numerous biological functions such as gene expression, cell fate determination and even cell differentiation. To investigate the correlation between ELF-EMF exposure and differentiation, bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) were subjected to a 50-Hz electromagnetic field during in vitro expansion. The influence of ELF-EMF on BM-MSCs was analysed by a range of different analytical methods to understand its role in the enhancement of neural differentiation. ELF-EMF exposure significantly decreased the rate of proliferation, which in turn caused an increase in neuronal differentiation. The ELF-EMF-treated cells showed increased levels of neuronal differentiation marker (MAP2), while early neuronal marker (Nestin) was down-regulated. In addition, eight differentially expressed proteins were detected in two-dimensional electrophoresis maps, and were identified using ESI-Q-TOF LC/MS/MS. Among them, ferritin light chain, thioredoxin-dependent peroxide reductase, and tubulin β-6 chain were up-regulated in the ELF-EMF-stimulated group. Ferritin and thioredoxin-dependent peroxide reductase are involved in a wide variety of functions, including Ca2+ regulation, which is a critical component of neurodegeneration. We also observed that the intracellular Ca2+ content was significantly elevated after ELF-EMF exposure, which strengthens the modulatory role of ferritin and thioredoxin-dependent peroxide reductase, during differentiation. Notably, western blot analysis indicated significantly increased expression of the ferritin light chain in the ELF-EMF-stimulated group (0.60 vs. 1.08; P < 0.01). These proteins may help understand the effect of ELF-EMF stimulation on BM-MSCs during neural differentiation and its potential use as a clinically therapeutic option for treating neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-931
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jul


  • BM-MSCs
  • Ca2+ regulation
  • Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields
  • ferritin
  • neural differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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