Toxicity testing of neurotoxic pesticides in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Research paper by Dean D Meyer, Phillip L PL Williams

Indexed on: 11 Sep '14Published on: 11 Sep '14Published in: Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part B, Critical reviews


The use of pesticides is ubiquitous worldwide, and these chemicals exert adverse effects on both target and nontarget species. Understanding the modes of action of pesticides, as well as quantifying exposure concentration and duration, is an important goal of clinicians and environmental health scientists. Some chemical exposures result in adverse effects on the nervous system. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is a model lab organism well established for studying neurotoxicity, since the components of its nervous system are mapped and known, and most of its neurotransmitters correspond to human homologs. This review encompasses published studies in which C. elegans nematodes were exposed to pesticides with known neurotoxic actions. Endpoints measured include changes in locomotion, feeding behavior, brood size, growth, life span, and cell death. From data presented, evidence indicates that C. elegans can serve a role in assessing the effects of neurotoxic pesticides at the sublethal cellular level, thereby advancing our understanding of the mechanisms underlying toxicity induced by these chemicals. A proposed toxicity testing scheme for water-soluble chemicals is also included.