The Caenorhabiditis elegans model as a reliable tool in neurotoxicology

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Abstract

Caenorhabiditis elegans (C. elegans) offers an attractive experimental platform as it has a short life cycle, is inexpensive to maintain and most importantly has high degree of evolutionary conservation with higher eukaryotes. Understanding the contribution of inherent genes that regulate neurotoxicity and antioxidant stress responses in the worm provides critical insight into mechanisms of mammalian neurotoxicity. The C. elegans model readily enables multi-gene approach, allowing for combinatorial genetic variation to be studied within the context of the influence of multigenic polymorphisms in environmental risk and vulnerability. This review provides a synopsis of recent studies on metal and pesticides toxicity in C. elegans, highlighting the utility of the model system in understanding molecular mechanisms that underlie developmental, reproductive and neuronal damage. The continuation of these investigations combining basic toxicological experimentation with novel genetic and high throughput methods will continue to make C. elegans an invaluable tool for future research, providing insight into molecular and cellular mechanisms of toxicity.

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