2014: Plasma thyroid hormones and corticosterone levels in blood of chicken

International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health 2014;27(1):114–122

Plasma thyroid hormones and corticosterone levels in blood of chicken embryos and post hatch chickens exposed during incubation to 1800 MHz electromagnetic field


1 University of Agriculture in Kraków, Poland
Department of Poultry and Fur Animal Breeding and Animal Hygiene
2 University of Agriculture in Kraków, Poland
Department of Animal Physiology and Endocrinology
3 Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland
Experimental Computer Physics Department, Institute of Physics




This study attempted to determine the effect of a 1800 MHz electromagnetic field (EMF) (only carrier frequency) on thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3) and corticosterone (CORT) concentrations in the blood plasma of chick embryos, and to investigate the effect of electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure during embryogenesis on the level of these hormones in birds that are ready for slaughter. Material and Methods: Throughout the incubation period, embryos from the experimental group were exposed to a 1800 MHz EMF with power density of 0.1 W/m2, 10 times during 24 h for 4 min. Blood samples were collected to determine T4, T3 and CORT concentrations on the 12th (E12) and 18th (E18) day of incubation, from newly hatched chicks (D1) and from birds ready for slaughter (D42). Results: The experiment showed that T4 and T3 concentrations decreased markedly and CORT levels increased in the embryos and in the newly hatched chicks exposed to EMF during embryogenesis. However, no changes were found in the level of the analyzed hormones in the birds ready for slaughter. Differences in T4 and T3 plasma concentrations between the EMF-exposed group and the embryos incubated without additional EMF were the highest in the newly hatched chicks, which may be indicative of the cumulative effect of electromagnetic field on the hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid axis (HPT). Discussion: The obtained results suggest that additional 1800 MHz radio frequency electromagnetic field inhibits function of HPT axis, however, it stimulates hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis by inducing adrenal steroidogenic cells to synthesize corticosterone. Further investigations are needed to elucidate the mechanisms by which radio EMFs affect HPT and HPA axis function in the chicken embryos.