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 April 24, 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 April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A kangaroo was saved from drowning in a backyard suburban swimming pool in Australia's Victoria state on Thursday. Australian broadcaster Channel 7 showed footage of the kangaroo struggling to get out of the pool. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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