Evidences and Mechanisms of the Electromagnetic field effects on Influenza replication and Immune response

Evidences and Mechanisms of the Electromagnetic field effects on Influenza replication and Immune response
10th International Congress
of the European Bioelectromagnetics Association (EBEA)
Rome, February 21-24, 2011
Valeriy Zaporozhan, Leonid Godlevsky, Georgiy Skripchenko and Andriy Ponomarenko*
Odessa State Medical University, Odessa, Ukraine
*corresponding author e-mail: [email protected]
Electromagnetic interaction is one of 4 known forces which drive all processes in Universe, including all chemical and biological phenomena. There are intriguing data suggesting participation of electromagnetic force in biological regulation [1, 2]. Studies demonstrate capability of weak magnetic field (MF) to alter gene expression pattern in living beings [3]. Nevertheless, participation of electromagnetic force in infection process and immune reactions is currently underestimated, underlying mechanisms are not understood. This explains our intends to evaluate possible role of electric charge in viral infection and to reveal possible mechanisms of weak magnetic field’s epigenetic activity.

Materials and Methods
The electrokinetic potential (EKP) of virions and antibodies (AB) was estimated using free-flow electrophoresis method [4]. 7 reference, 4 vaccine and 13 freshly isolated influenza strains of A (H1N1) and (H3N2) serosubtypes were studied. Sera from blood donors were monthly tested for relative contents of strain-specific influenza AB with positive (AB+) and negative (AB-) electrokinetic potential during two years period.


EKP of virions in stable reference strains and in most field isolates was close to naught. Repeated passages under standard permissive conditions and long time storage did not influence the EKP of the virions. On the contrary, two to four time passage of a standard strain or field isolate in presence of specific antisera or antiviviral drug Remantadine caused formation of virions that had positive and/or negative EKP. Relative contents of those “charged” virions in virus population experienced limiting reproduction influences and in vaccine strains was varied from 1 to 50 percents. In most cases decrease of the virus infectivity supervened on appearance of the “charged” virions in viral population. Interrelation between the EKP of virions and immunogenicity of studied virus strain have been detected.
We’ve shown that average titers of strain-specific AB+ in human sera correlated with intensity of circulation of corresponding virus strain in the target human population. The bigger was average ratio (specific AB+ titer / specific AB- titer) for studied virus the higher was probability that given influenza strain will cause epidemics soon.
Obtained results represented additional evidences for the role of electric charge and electric forces in virus replication and in immune reactions. However, experimental and epidemiological data as well as theoretical considerations suggest that predominantly magnetic, not the electric constituent of the electromagnetic field (EMF) is mainly responsible for biological effects of the EMFs [5]. Though, underlying mechanisms of the MF’s gene-regulatory activity are poorly understood up to now.
To explain the magnetic field effects on gene expression we’ve proposed that proteins of Cryptochrome family (CRY) are “epigenetic sensors” of the MF fluctuations, i.e. – magnetic field-sensitive part of the epigenetic controlling mechanism (Fig. 1.). It is known that CRY are repressors of circadian transcriptional complex CLOCK/BMAL1 activity. At the same time, functional activity of CRY is highly responsive to weak MF because of radical pairs that periodically arise in the active site of CRY and mediate the radical pair mechanism of magnetoreception [6]. The major circadian complex influences expression of genes related to NF-?B- and glucocorticoids- dependent signaling pathways. Therefore MFs are capable to alter activity of NF-?B- controlled pathways and hormones, regulate stress response and other biological functions. It is known that NF-?B signaling is indispensable for immune response and participates in differential regulation of influenza virus RNA synthesis. Thus, in case of global application (example -solar cycles-dependent geomagnetic field fluctuations) MF -mediated regulation may influence intensity of epidemic process for influenza and other infections. A coincidence between flu pandemics and maxima of solar activity [7] corroborates this theory.

Figure 1: Proposed mechanism of the magnetic field influence on gene expression and virus-host interactions.

Summary and Conclusions
EKP of virions in well adapted, stable influenza virus populations is close to naught.
Formation of “charged” virions witnesses the viral population experience deadaptation.
Correlation between the EKP of virions and immunogenicity of the virus strain has been shown.
Estimation of electromagnetic properties of viruses and specific antibodies, as well as Geomagnetic data analysis could improve epidemiological prognosis, evaluation of virus isolates and vaccine strain selection.
Biological reactions in leaving beings, including response to stress and infection, vary depending on the functional activity of Cryptochromes, which in turn may be regulated by magnetic fields, including the Geomagnetic field.
Presented data suggest that upcoming increase of Solar activity and severe Magnetic storms will significantly increase various health risks owing to alteration of magnetic bio-regulatory influences.
In consequence of correlation between the Solar activity dynamics and the geomagnetic field numerous bio-regulatory effects it is possible to predict that Solar cycles are able both: to regulate, entrain processes of biological microevolution and to tune biological rhythms (bio-clocks) in living beings.


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