Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists develop worm EEG to test the effects of drugs

Date:
May 22, 2013
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Scientists have developed a device which records the brain activity of worms to help test the effects of drugs. NeuroChip is a microfluidic electrophysiological device, which can trap the microscopic worm Caenorhadbitis elegans and record the activity of discrete neural circuits in its 'brain' - a worm equivalent of the EEG.

NeuroChip.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Southampton

Scientists from the University of Southampton have developed a device which records the brain activity of worms to help test the effects of drugs.

NeuroChip is a microfluidic electrophysiological device, which can trap the microscopic worm Caenorhadbitis elegans and record the activity of discrete neural circuits in its 'brain' -- a worm equivalent of the EEG.

C. elegans have been enormously important in providing insight into fundamental signalling processes in the nervous system and this device opens the way for a new analysis. Prior to this development, electrophysiological recordings that resolve the activity of excitatory and inhibitory nerve cells in the nervous system of the worm required a high level of technical expertise -- single microscopic (1mm long) worms have to be trapped on the end of a glass tube, a microelectrode, in order to make the recording. The worms are very mobile as well as being small and this can be a challenging procedure.

The microfluidic invention consists of a reservoir through which worms can be fed, one after the other, into a narrow fluid-filled channel. The channel tapers at one end and this captures the worm by the front end. The worm is then in the correct orientation for recording the activity of the nervous system in the anterior of its body. The device incorporates metal electrodes, which are connected to an amplifier to make the recording. The design of the trapping channel has been optimised by PhD student Chunxiao Hu, so that the quality of the worm 'EEG' recording is sufficient to resolve the activity of components of the neural circuit in the worm's nervous system.

This device has been used to detect the effects of drugs and is highly suitable for high throughput screens (which allow researchers to quickly conduct millions of chemical, genetic or pharmacological tests) in neurotoxicology and for generic screening for neuroactive drugs. It has more power to resolve discrete effects on excitatory, inhibitory or modulatory transmission than previously possible with behavioural screens.

Lindy Holden-Dye, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southampton and lead author of the paper, says: "We are particularly interested in using this as a sensitive new tool for screening compounds for neurotoxicity. It will allow us to precisely quantify sub-lethal effects on neural network activity. It can also provide an information rich platform by reporting the effects of compounds on a diverse array of neurotransmitter pathways, which are implicated in mammalian toxicology. "

The research, which is published in the latest issue of the journal PLOS One, is a joint project between the University's Centre for Biological Sciences and the Hybrid Biodevices Group.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chunxiao Hu, James Dillon, James Kearn, Caitriona Murray, Vincent O’Connor, Lindy Holden-Dye, Hywel Morgan. NeuroChip: A Microfluidic Electrophysiological Device for Genetic and Chemical Biology Screening of Caenorhabditis elegans Adult and Larvae. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (5): e64297 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064297

Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Scientists develop worm EEG to test the effects of drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522180134.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2013, May 22). Scientists develop worm EEG to test the effects of drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522180134.htm
University of Southampton. "Scientists develop worm EEG to test the effects of drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522180134.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins