Worm Breeder's Gazette 15(3): 13 (June 1, 1998)

These abstracts should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.

Video analysis of drug-modulated behaviour in adult Caenorhabditis elegans.

Andrew E Williams, David J Brownlee, Clive E Bennett

Division of Cell Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO16 7PX, England, UK

The increase of drug resistance in nematodes has generated an interest in developing novel compounds to control both animal and plant parasitic species. Caenorhabditis elegans has many advantages enabling its use as a pharmacological screen. It is easily maintained within the laboratory, has a short life cycle, and can be used as a model for animal and plant parasitic nematodes in addition to nematode locomotory behaviour. This has lead us to investigate the potential of video analysis to determine the specific effects that such compounds may have on nematode locomotory behaviour by using C. elegans . Previous studies on parasitic nematodes have concentrated upon standard in vitro assays (LD50s: concentration which produce 50% mortality) and not pharmacological based behavioural studies per se.

Adult C. elegans were incubated in a range of common anthelmintic compounds (e.g. levamisole, piperazine) and neurotransmitters ("classical" and FaRPs), and the resulting behavioural changes recorded onto video-tape. Resultant data analysis, was performed by an image-analysis software package (statistical analysis (mean +/- s.e.mean) by Graphpad Prism) which was used to resolve the behavioural attributes of C. elegans locomotory behaviour (distance moved (micro-m), time moving/still (secs), total speed (micro-m/sec), and degrees/second). Concentration dependent effects were observed with piperazine and other drugs. Piperazine caused a statistically significant reduction in total distance moved, total speed, and degrees/sec. This study has shown that this method of analysis is an effective broad-based in vitro pharmacological screen for compounds with a neuromuscular mode of action.

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