Previous studies in our laboratory showed that neurite outgrowth in vitro and nerve regeneration in vivo were stimulated by 2 Hz, 0.3 mT (3 G) pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF). To learn more about the effects of PEMF on nerve cells, we exposed PC6 cells, a standard neuronal-like cell model, to the same pulsed electromagnetic fields for 2 h/day for 2 days and asked whether two different cell processes, proliferation and differentiation, were affected. The cells were also treated with a differentiating agent, nerve growth factor (NGF), to further define any interactive effects. We found that proliferation was unaffected by either PEMF or NGF alone or in combination. Differentiation, expressed as neurite outgrowth, was strongly upregulated with NGF, but this NGF response was significantly depressed in cells treated with PEMF.

Bioelectromagnetics 2001 May;22(4):267-71
Shah JP, Midkiff P, Brandt PC, Sisken BF.
Center for Biomedical Engineering and Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40506-0070, USA.