The effect of pulsed microwaves on passive electrical properties and interspike intervals of snail neurons

Aaron S. Field, Kenneth S Ginsburg, James C. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The effects of pulsed microwaves (2.45 GHz, 10 μs, 100 pps, SAR: 81.5 kW/kg peak, 81.5 W/kg average) on membrane input resistance and action potential (AP) interval statistics were studied in spontaneously active ganglion neurons of land snails (Helix aspersa), at strictly constant temperature (20.8±.07°C worst case). Statistical comparison with sham‐irradiated neurons revealed a significant increase in the mean input resistance of neurons exposed to pulsed microwaves (P ≪ .05 ). Pulsed microwaves had no visible effect on mean AP firing rate; this observation was confirmed by analysis of interspike intervals (ISIs). Using an integrator model for spontaneously active neurons, we found the net input current to be more variable in neurons exposed to pulsed microwaves. The mean input current was not affected. The standard deviation of ISIs and the autocorrelation of the input current were marginally affected, but these changes were not consistent across neurons. Although the observed effects were less obvious than those reported in other studies, they represent evidence of a direct interaction between neurons and pulsed microwaves, in the absence of macroscopic temperature changes. The data do not suggest a single, specific mechanism for such interaction. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-520
Number of pages18
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • constant temperature
  • intracellular recording
  • regression analysis
  • time series

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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