Microwave Effects on Input Resistance and Action Potential Firing of Snail Neurons

Kenneth S Ginsburg, James C. Lin, William D. O’Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Excitable tissues have been reported to respond to weak microwave (MW) fields, possibly by nonlinear perturbation of a cellular process such as ion conduction across membranes. We sought effects of MW (continuous wave, 2.45 GHz, specific absorption rates 12.5 or 125 mW/g) on input resistances and action potential (AP) intervals of neurons in ganglia of snails (Helix aspersa), at 20.9 ± 0.1°C. At 12.5 mW/g, input resistance did not change during irradiation, but increased (p < 0.05) afterward. At 125 mW/g, input resistance during irradiation was lower than in unirradiated controls. Serial cor-relograms changed marginally more frequently in MW experiments than in controls, but the changes had no consistent pattern. The AP firing rate was affected by MW, but the direction was not consistent across cells. When AP generation was modeled as being due to a neuronal input current, MW did not affect its mean, standard deviation, or autocorrelation. Unlike MW, temperature changes caused neurons to respond robustly and reversibly. Threshold for changing input resistance was 0.63°C. The data suggest that MW may enhance degenerative effects such as metabolic rundown or loss of ion channel patency, but do not indicate a specific mechanism for MW interaction with neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1011-1021
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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