Institution: Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania
Abstract: Caenorhabditis elegans unc-13 mutants express decreased neuronal activity and thus are a good model strain for examining defective nervous systems. These unc-13 mutants as well as wild type N2 strains, show rapid mortality when under oxidative stress. However, the antioxidant vitamin E may prolong survival in unc-13 mutant and N2 strains under oxidative stress. The addition of vitamin E to organisms under oxidative stress has a protective effect in both N2 and unc-13 C. elegans strains. Interestingly, vitamin E resulted in a greater increase in survival rate in N2 worms than with unc-13 mutant worms. While both strains displayed lower mortality rates with the addition of vitamin E, this finding suggests that vitamin E more efficiently increases survival rates of C. elegans with typical nervous system function. The efficacy of vitamin E implies that use of antioxidants may lessen the damage caused by oxidative stress in both N2 and mutant worms.