Utility of Caenorhabditis elegans in high throughput neurotoxicological research

Kirsten J. Helmcke, Daiana Silva Avila, Michael Aschner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Caenorhabditis elegans is a nematode that has been used as a valuable research tool in many facets of biological research. Researchers have used the many tools available to investigate this well-studied nematode, including a cell lineage map, sequenced genome, and complete wiring diagram of the nervous system, making in-depth investigation of the nervous system practical. These tools, along with other advantages, such as its small size, short life cycle, transparency, and ability to generate many progeny, have made C. elegans an attractive model for many studies, including those investigating toxicological paradigms and those using high throughput techniques. Researchers have investigated a number of endpoints, such as behavior and protein expression using a green fluorescent protein (GFP) marker following toxicant exposure and have explored the mechanisms of toxicity using techniques such as microarray, RNA interference (RNAi), and mutagenesis. This review discusses the benefits of using C. elegans as a model system and gives examples of the uses of C. elegans in toxicological research. High throughput techniques are discussed highlighting the advantages of using an in vivo system that has many advantageous characteristics of an in vitro system while emphasizing endpoints relating to developmental and adult neurotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-67
Number of pages6
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • High throughput
  • Neurotoxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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