Research focusing on aging and age-related diseases seeks to understand the aging processes at a molecular level. Studies of aging, also known as senescence, may seek to find genetic and epigenetic causes for lifespan extension or shortening. Healthspan is a related concept that refers to the period of biological health maintenance prior to debilitating age-associated decline. Often, healthspan is defined by preservation of youthful behavioral phenotypes.
The nematode C. elegans is used as a model organism to study lifespan, healthspan, and age-related diseases. Using C. elegans, you can gain insight into the mechanisms of aging and discover compounds with therapeutic impact. The information below illustrate how C. elegans has been used to model various human aging-associated neurodegenerative diseases and provide an extensive list of compounds that have therapeutic activity in these worm models and so may have translational potential .
Introducing the ScreenChip System: a platform to study aging & aging-related diseases
The ScreenChip System automatically detects and quantifies age-related phenotypes
The ScreenChip phenotyping platform enables real-time, quantitative insight into the health of un-anaesthetized worms at various ages.
- Measure phenotypic readouts of genetic and pharmacological manipulations on lifespan and healthspan
- Directly quantify feeding behaviors and pharyngeal function throughout the lifespan
- Determine the impact of diet on nutrition on the aging process
Key advantages of the ScreenChip System:
- Easily get data from many different developmental stages and ages (Fig 1)
- Rapid, automated data acquisition and analysis to reduce experimental time and variability (Fig. 2)
- Detect and quantify effects of aging, mutations and anti-aging compounds on feeding behavior (Fig. 3)
- Visualize, quantify, and compare the effects of aging on various populations (Fig. 4)
- Monitor fluorescent probes, morphological changes, and behavioral responses (Fig. 5)
Easily get data from many different developmental stages and ages
Fig. 1: Morphological and behavioral differences for worms throughout the aging process: from Larval Stage 1 (L1, top), to young adults (middle) and old age (bottom) .
Rapid, automated data acquisition and analysis to reduce experimental time and variability
Fig. 2: Visualization of the changes of phenotypes during aging: Day 10 adults show an increase in pauses (red arrows) during pharyngeal pumping stimulated by serotonin.
Detect and quantify effects of aging, mutations and anti-aging compounds on feeding behavior
Fig. 3: Quantification of pumping frequency. Comparison of two worm populations showing that trehalose helps prevent the decline of pumping frequency in aging worms.
Visualize, quantify and compare the effects of aging on various populations
Fig. 4: Probability distribution of interpump intervals and pump duration in adult worms at various ages. Data were compiled to visualize the gradual lengthening of the interpump interval (2 min/worm, 15-30 worms per age in 10mM 5HT, unbiased worm sampling and data acquisition).
Monitor fluorescent probes, morphological changes, and behavioral responses
Fig. 5: A 5 day-old adult worm stained with RediStain™ WormDye Lipid Green, observed within the ScreenChip system (upper panel: bright field; lower panel: fluorescence).
- Age-related changes in pump frequency and amplitude observed in C. elegans pharynx (presented at 2017 Int’l Worm Meeting)