Evaluations of Environmental Pollutant-Induced Mitochondrial Toxicity Using Caenorhabditis elegans as a Model System

Fuli Zheng, Michael Aschner, Huangyuan Li

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Environmental pollutants inevitably exert adverse effects on humans and other species. Quick identification and in-depth characterization of the pollutants are requisite objectives for clinicians and environmental health scientists. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been utilized as a model organism for toxicity evaluation of environmental pollutants, due to its transparency, short lifespan, entire genome sequencing, and economical characteristics. However, few researchers have systematically addressed mitochondrial toxicity in response to toxicants, despite the critical role mitochondria play in energy production and respiration, as well as the generation of reactive oxygen species. Mitochondria are vulnerable to environmental pollutants, and their dysfunction contributes to cellular damage and toxicity in plethora of diseases. Here, we describe methods in step-by-step for mitochondrial toxicity evaluation in response to pollutants, including exposure of C. elegans to toxicants, mitochondrial ROS detection, mitochondrial morphology analysis, mitochondrial function analysis, such as ATP production and oxygen consumption, and gene expression studies, with the application of corresponding genetically modified strains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • ATP production
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Mitochondrial morphology
  • Mitochondrial toxicity
  • Oxygen consumption
  • drp-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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