Immune Markers and Ornithine Decarboxylase Activity among Electric Utility Workers

Travers Y. Ichinose, James B. Burch, Curtis W. Noonan, Michael G. Yost, Thomas J. Keefe, Annette Bachand, Rosemonde Mandeville, John S. Reif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The effects of a 60-Hz magnetic field (MF) exposure on white blood cell ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity, natural killer (NK) cell activity, lymphocyte phenotypes, and differential cell counts were studied among 60 electric utility workers. Personal MF exposure monitoring over 3 consecutive workdays was followed by collection of a peripheral blood sample. There were no MF-related changes in NK activity or the number of circulating neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, or T-lymphocytes (CD4, CD8, CD4:CD8 ratio). MF exposure intensity was associated with decreased ODC activity (P < 0.01) and lower NK cell counts (P = 0.04). Melatonin production, which stimulates the immune system, was quantified on the night preceding immune marker determinations. Exposure-related reductions in ODC activity, NK and B cells, and monocytes were strongest among workers with reduced melatonin production. The biological significance or long-term health consequences associated with these changes are not known.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-112
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


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