[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Magnetoreception in the animal kingdom has focused primarily on behavioural responses to the static geomagnetic field and the slow changes in its magnitude and direction as animals navigate/migrate. There has been relatively little attention given to the possibility that weak extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (wELFMF) may affect animal behaviour. Previously, we showed that changes in nociception under an ambient magnetic field-shielded environment may be a good alternative biological endpoint to orientation measurements for investigations into magnetoreception. Here we show that nociception in mice is altered by a 30 Hz field with a peak amplitude more than 1000 times weaker than the static component of the geomagnetic field. When mice are exposed to an ambient magnetic field-shielded environment 1 h a day for five consecutive days, a strong analgesic (i.e. antinociception) response is induced by day 5. Introduction of a static field with an average magnitude of 44 µT (spatial variability of ±3 µT) marginally affects this response, whereas introduction of a 30 Hz time-varying field as weak as 33 nT has a strong effect, reducing the analgesic effect by 60 per cent. Such sensitivity is surprisingly high. Any purported detection mechanisms being considered will need to explain effects at such wELFMF.
Full-text Article · Jan 2013 · Journal of The Royal Society Interface
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Previous experiments with mice have shown that a repeated 1 h daily exposure to an ambient magnetic field shielded environment induces analgesia (anti-nociception). This shielding reduces ambient static and extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) by approximately 100 times for frequencies below 120 Hz. To determine the threshold of ELF-MF amplitude that would attenuate or abolish this effect, 30 and 120 Hz magnetic fields were introduced into the shielded environment at peak amplitudes of 25, 50, 100 and 500 nT. At 30 Hz, peak amplitudes of 50, 100, and 500 nT attenuated this effect in proportion to the amplitude magnitude. At 120 Hz, significant attenuation was observed at all amplitudes. Exposures at 10, 60, 100, and 240 Hz with peak amplitudes of 500, 300, 500, and 300 nT, respectively, also attenuated the induced analgesia. No exposure abolished this effect except perhaps at 120 Hz, 500 nT. If the peak amplitude frequency product was kept constant at 6000 nT-Hz for frequencies of 12.5, 25, 50, and 100 Hz, the extent of attenuation was constant, indicating that the detection mechanism is dependent on the nT-Hz product. A plot of effect versus the induced current metric nT-Hz suggests a threshold of ELF-MF detection in mice at or below 1000 nT-Hz.