A Lorentz model for weak magnetic field bioeffects: Part II - Secondary transduction mechanisms and measures of reactivity

David J. Muehsam, Arthur A. Pilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In Part I it was shown that the thermal component of the motion of a charged particle in an oscillator potential, that is, within a molecular binding site, rotates at the Larmor frequency in an applied magnetic field. It was also shown that the Larmor angular frequency is independent of the thermal noise strength and thus offers a mechanism for the biological detection of weak (mT-range) magnetic fields. Part II addresses the question of how the Larmor trajectory could affect biological reactivity. The projection of the motion onto a Cartesian axis measures the nonuniformity of the Larmor trajectory in AC and combined AC/DC magnetic fields, suggesting a means of assessing resonances. A physically meaningful measure of reactivity based upon the classical oscillator trajectory is suggested, and the problem of initial conditions is addressed through averaging over AC phases. AC resonance frequencies occur at the Larmor frequency and at other frequencies, and are dependent upon the ratio of AC/DC amplitudes and target kinetics via binding lifetime. The model is compared with experimental data reported for a test of the ion parametric resonance (IPR) model on data from Ca2+ flux in membrane vesicles, neurite outgrowth from PC-12 cells and a cell-free calmodulin-dependent myosin phosphorylation system, and suggests Mg2+ is the target for these systems. The results do not require multiple-ion targets, selection of isotopes, or additional curve fitting. The sole fitting parameter is the binding lifetime of the target system and the results shown are consistent with the literature on binding kinetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-488
Number of pages13
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • ELF
  • Ion binding
  • Larmor precession mechanism
  • Lorentz force
  • Magnetic fields
  • Resonance
  • Thermal noise


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