Worm Breeder's Gazette 17(4): 21 (May 1, 2003)

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.

Exposure To Sodium Azide Reduces Lifespan In C. elegans

Christen M. Kyre, Jill Y. MacAlpine, Geneva A. Stork, Jason N. Crawford, Colleen D. Root, Jacqueline M. White, Melissa S. White, Glenn E. White

Department of Biology, UNC-Asheville, Asheville, North Carolina 28804

Previous work in our lab demonstrated that exposing C. elegans to the metabolic inhibitor sodium azide induces thermotolerance and the expression of the stress proteins hsp70 and hsp16 (Massie et al., 2003).  We have continued our efforts to characterize further the physiological response of worms to sodium azide exposure.  We sought to determine what effect, if any, sodium azide exposure had on the lifespan of the animal as well as on its reproductive viability since azide continues to be the anesthetic of choice for C. elegans researchers. In four separate double-blinded experiments consisting of 57 control and 50 experimental worms total (L1 and L2), a one hour exposure to sodium azide resulted in animals consistently showing a 7.1% decrease in lifespan.  In our lab, the average age at death of control worms was 11.2±0.5 days, as compared to 10.4±1 days for azide treated worms (see Figure I).  A two-tailed Z score demonstrated a confidence interval of p<0.001.  We are also interested in determining whether azide exposure had an effect on the reproductive viability of the animal.  For the reproductive viability study, we were concerned that the manual transfer of L1s and L2s may be quite traumatic for those animals and could be affecting their reproductive viability.  As such, we decided to use L3 and L4 animals. Three separate experiments using L3 and L4 experimental worms (14 control and 15 azide exposed), failed to demonstrate a consistent effect on brood size or the number of days that the animals laid eggs.  Our results demonstrate that the use of sodium azide as an anesthetic is not without immediate physiological consequences for the animal in terms of stress protein induction and a shortening of its lifespan.

File written by Adobe Photoshop® 4.0


Massie, M.R., Lapoczka, L.M., Boggs, K.D., Stine, K.E., and White, G.E.  2003.  Exposure to the metabolic inhibitor sodium azide induces thermotolerance and stress proteins in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.  Cell Stress and Chaperones 8:  36-43.