Caenorhabditis elegans models of human neurodegenerative diseases: A powerful tool to identify molecular mechanisms and novel therapeutic targets

Richard Nass, Lihsia Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Within the past decade it has become remarkably clear that the molecular components involved in basic cellular function and dysfunction are highly conserved across phyla from single cell organisms to humans. The high sequence similarities within eukaryotes and the advent of molecular technologies now allow us to utilize genetic models such as the nematode C. elegans to begin to elucidate the complex mechanisms involved in human neurodegenerative diseases. In this chapter we will briefly summarize recent advances using the nematode C. elegans to model a number of neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, and hereditary spastic paraplegia, and describe how this relatively simple animal is being utilized to identify putative endogenous and exogenous molecules that may contribute to the disease. We also describe how this genetically tractable organism is amenable to high throughput technologies to identify novel drug targets and potential therapeutic leads to combat these devastating neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSource Book of Models for Biomedical Research
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781588299338
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008



  • 6-OHDA
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • C. elegans
  • Genetics
  • Hereditary spastic paraplegia
  • High-throughput screens
  • Huntington's disease
  • Nematode
  • Parkinson's Disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this