(138f) Automated Tracking of Age-Induced Neuromuscular Health Decline in C. Elegans | AIChE

(138f) Automated Tracking of Age-Induced Neuromuscular Health Decline in C. Elegans


Vanapalli, S. A. - Presenter, Texas Tech University
Anupom, T., Texas Tech University
Rahman, M., Texas Tech University
Gupta, S., Texas Tech University
Soni, P., Texas Tech University
Edwards, H., Texas Tech University
Driscoll, M., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Szewczyk, N., University of Nottingham
Caenorhabditis elegans is a powerful animal model for aging and age-induced neurodegenerative diseases research. Scoring for neuromuscular health declines across life involve the tedious task of picking and transferring animals from culture plates to prevent younger progeny from contaminating age-synchronized adult populations. Large-scale studies employ progeny-blocking drugs or sterile mutants to avoid progeny contamination, but such manipulations change adult physiology and alter the influence of reproduction on normal aging. Here, we report an automated microfluidic system called NemaLife Machine (NLM) that addresses the current limitation of plate-based whole-life evaluation of neuromuscular health. NLM integrates: 1) a microfluidic device and flow control system for culturing C. elegans with programmed washing of progeny and delivery of food, 2) an illumination and smart-device imaging system for recording motion of a population of animals or individuals, and 3) data analysis software for scoring live/dead animals and locomotion-based activity index. We optimized the system parameters and developed an operational workflow that robustly yields lifespan and healthspan data on C. elegans. We validate the NLM with whole-life studies of classical aging mutants and disease models of neurodegeneration. Overall, the capacity of NLM system to generate reliable lifespan and neuromuscular health data underscores the potential of this automated machine for genetic and drugs screens.