Morphological alteration of the hippocampal synapses in rats prenatally exposed to magnetic resonance imaging magnetic fields

Ma Li Jiang, Tai Zhen Han, Dong Wei Yang, Ming Xia Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present study investigated the effects of prenatal exposure to the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) magnetic fields on the synaptic ultrastructure of hippocampal formation of rats at different postnatal development stages. Pregnant rats with gestation of 12-18 days were exposed to the magnetic fields used for MRI clinical applications. When the offspring were 1, 2, or 5-month-old, the synaptic morphologic parameters were measured in female offspring. In the 2-month-old MRI group, the curvature of synaptic interface, the length of active zone and the surface density per unit volume (S v) of active zone in the dentate gyrus (DG) decreased significantly, and the width of synaptic cleft increased in the CA1 area. In the 5-month-old MRI group, the width of synaptic cleft increased, the thickness of postsynaptic density and the curvature of synaptic interface decreased significantly in the CA1 region, and the width of synaptic cleft increased in the DG. No significant change was observed in the 1-month-old group. These results suggest that prenatal exposure to the medical magnetic fields causes synaptic ultrastructural changes. The relationship of these changes with behavioral impairments was discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-710
Number of pages6
JournalActa Physiologica Sinica
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 25 2003
Externally publishedYes



  • Delayed effects of prenatal exposure
  • Hippocampus
  • Learning
  • Magnetic fields
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Memory
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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