The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a model of organophosphate induced mammalian neurotoxicity
Cole, Russell David
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Research has shown a number of basic similarities between the nervous systems of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and higher animals including mammals. The purpose of this study was to investigate the toxicity of a chemical class known to be neurotoxic in C. elegans and compare this toxicity to that seen in mammals. The behavioral response of C. elegans to 15 organophosphate (OP) pesticides was characterized using computer automated tracking. Toxicity was ranked and compared to the ranked toxicity of the same compounds in rats and mice. Toxic mechanism was also examined through cholinesterase activity assays performed on worms exposed to 8 of the 15 OPs. A significant correlation was found between rank order of toxicity in C. elegans and rats and mice. Cholinesterase inhibition by some OPs was also confirmed in C. elegans. Specific comparisons and implications concerning C. elegans’ potential as a mammalian neurotoxicity model are discussed.