Screening for Anthelmintic Activity

The screening of candidate compounds and natural products for anthelmintic activity is important for discovering new drugs against human and animal parasites. We previously validated Caenorhabditis elegans in a microfluidic device (‘chip’) that records non-invasively the tiny electrophysiological signals generated by rhythmic contraction (pumping) of the worm’s pharynx.


These electropharyngeograms (EPGs) are recorded simultaneously from multiple worms per chip, providing a medium-throughput readout of muscular and neural activity that is especially useful for compounds targeting neurotransmitter receptors and ion channels.

Microfluidic technologies have transformed C. elegans research and the goal of the current study was to validate hookworm and Ascaris suum host-stage larvae in the microfluidic EPG platform. Ancylostoma ceylanicum and A. caninum infective L3s (iL3s) that had been activated in vitro generally produced erratic EPG activity under the conditions tested. These experiments validate the use of A. ceylanicum L4s and A. suum L3s with the microfluidic EPG platform, providing a new tool for screening anthelmintic candidates or investigating parasitic nematode feeding behavior.

See microfluidic EPG recordings from diverse nematode species.