NTP studies developmental effects of chemical toxicants on C. elegans and other species
A research team, led by National Toxicology Program scientists, used the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) to screen 968 chemicals from the ToxCast Phase I and Phase II libraries of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Center for Computational Toxicology. The scientists determined which chemicals inhibited larval development and growth, and then compared their results to developmental toxicity data from rat, rabbit, and two zebrafish studies.
The nematode results agreed with one zebrafish assay for approximately 80 percent of the ToxCast chemicals; agreement was less than 60 percent with another assay. More importantly, when C. elegans or zebrafish data were used to predict mammalian outcomes, the agreement was approximately 50 percent, while agreement between rabbit and rat chemical toxicity data was also low at 58 percent.
C. elegans has been proven to be a useful animal model to determine the consequence of exposures to a variety of environmental chemicals. Toxicity data from this species may be combined with that from higher organisms when conducting mammalian in vivo studies. The data from lower organisms, along with in vitro data from human cell culture studies, may provide scientists with useful tools for predicting adverse human responses associated with exposure to potential environmental toxicants. (DD)
Citation: Boyd WA, Smith MV, Co CA, Pirone JR, Rice JR, Shockley KR, Freedman JH. 2015. Developmental effects of the ToxCast Phase I and II chemicals in Caenorhabditis elegans and corresponding responses in zebrafish, rats, and rabbits. Environ Health Perspect; doi:10.1289/ehp.1409645 [Online 23 October 2015].