Plasma corticosterone concentration was determined by radioimmunoassay from mice exposed to 60 Hz electric fields from 0 to 50,000 V/m for durations ranging from 5 min to 6 weeks. Responses of mice exposed to known stressors such as handling, social mixing, and high-level noise were also assessed. An acute, transient increase in circulating corticosterone was apparent immediately after activation of a high-intensity electric field. The increase was apparent only for a matter of minutes, and corticosterone concentration after exposure of several hours, days, or weeks was normal. In contrast, mice which were moved, socially mixed, and exposed to high-level noise had corticosterone levels which were consistently two or three times greater than those of undisturbed mice or mice exposed to the high-intensity electric fields. Results were interpreted as meaning that mice may perceive high-intensity electric fields and exhibit orientation reactions to the onset of such fields.
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