Screening test for neurotoxins using Caenorhabditis elegans.
School of Applied Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, 1987 May; :1-9
A screening test was proposed for neurotoxins using a computer tracking system and Caenorhabditis-elegans, a species of nematode. Simultaneous tracking of several hundred nematodes, recording their rates of locomotion and frequency of direction change were reported in real time. Reliable data on a variety of behavioral parameters relating to locomotion and response to sensory stimulation were obtained. The effects on locomotion caused by copper (7440508), beryllium (7440417), mercury (7439976), lead (7439921), malathion (121755), and vapona (62737) were studied. Copper and beryllium were not known to be neurotoxins. The rate of movement of exposed nematodes compared to the rate of movement of vehicle controls indicated that this test can be used as an indicator of neurotoxicity. Acute lethality studies were also performed with mercuric-chloride (7487947), beryllium-sulfate (13510491), aluminum- nitrate (13473900), cupric-chloride (7447394), zinc-chloride (7646857), lead-nitrate (10099748), cadmium-chloride (10108642), and strontium-nitrate (10042769). C-elegans was able to predict mammalian acute lethality by generating median lethal dose levels which were comparable to those obtained with the rat and mouse. The cost of this type of test was about 10 percent of the cost involved in using mammalian testing programs.
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