Effect of Ultraviolet B Radiation and 100 Hz Electromagnetic Fields on Proliferation and DNA Synthesis of Jurkat Cells

G. Nindl, E. F. Hughes, M. T. Johnson, D. F. Spandau, D. N. Vesper, W. X. Balcavage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


The use of ultraviolet B light (UVB) has been proven to be highly effective for treatment of various inflammatory skin diseases, but UVB phototherapy is limited by its carcinogenic side effects. It is necessary to uncover effectors that augment UVB so that similar or improved efficacy can be obtained with lower UVB doses. We found that low frequency, low intensity electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can act as such an effector and synergistically inhibit T lymphocyte proliferation. We first characterized the effects of UVB on Jurkat cells, a model for cutaneous T lymphocytes, and determined UVB's dose dependent inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Cells exposed to a sublethal UVB dose retained their sensitivity to UVB, but repetitive irradiation seemed to cause accumulation of delayed DNA damage. We then exposed cells to combinations of UVB plus EMFs and found that 100 Hz, 1 mT EMFs decrease DNA synthesis of UVB-activated Jurkat cells by 34 ± 13% compared to UVB alone. The decrease is, however, most effective when relatively high UVB doses are employed. Since EMFs alone had only a very weak inhibitory effect (10 ± 2%), the data suggest that EMFs augment the cell killing effects of UVB in a synergistic way. These findings could provide the basis for development of new and improved clinical phototherapy protocols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-463
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002



  • DNA damage
  • Phototherapy
  • T lymphocyte
  • UVB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics

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