Using Caenorhabditis elegans for Studying Trans- and Multi-Generational Effects of Toxicants


Information about toxicities of chemicals are essential in their application and waste management. For chemicals at low concentrations, the long-term effects are very important in judging their consequences in the environment and on human health. In demonstrating long-term influences, effects of chemicals over generations in recent studies provide new insight. In this study, the authors describe protocols for studying effects of chemicals over multiple generations using free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Two aspects are presented: (1) trans-generational (TG) and (2) multi-generational effect studies, the latter of which is separated to multi-generational exposure (MGE) and multi-generational residual (MGR) effect studies. The TG effect study is robust with a simple purpose to determine whether chemical exposure to parents can result in any residual consequences on offspring. After the effects are measured on parents, sodium hypochlorite solutions are used to kill the parents and keep the offspring so as to facilitate effect measurement on the offspring. The TG effect study is used to determine whether the offspring are affected when their parent is exposed to the pollutants. The MGE and MGR effect study is systematically used to determine whether continuous generational exposure can result in adaptive responses in offspring over generations. Careful pick-up and transfer are used to distinguish generations to facilitate effect measurement on each generation. The authors also combined protocols to measure locomotion behaviour, reproduction, lifespan, biochemical and gene expression changes. Some example experiments are also presented to illustrate the trans- and multi-generational effect studies.

Authors: Li Z, Ai F, Zhang J, Yu Z, Yin D.
; Full Source: Journal of Visual Exposure. 2019 Jul 29;(149). doi: 10.3791/59367.