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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2009 Oct;19(5):561-7. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2009.10.010. Epub 2009 Nov 5.

Microfluidics for the analysis of behavior, nerve regeneration, and neural cell biology in C. elegans.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 204 E. Dean Keeton Street, Austin, TX 78705, USA.


The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a widely adopted model organism for studying various neurobiological processes at the molecular and cellular level in vivo. With a small, flexible, and continuously moving body, the manipulation of C. elegans becomes a challenging task. In this review, we highlight recent advances in microfluidic technologies for the manipulation of C. elegans. These new family of microfluidic chips are capable of handling single or populations of worms in a high-throughput fashion and accurately controlling their microenvironment. So far, they have been successfully used to study neural circuits and behavior, to perform large-scale phetotyping and morphology-based screens as well as to understand axon regeneration after injury. We envision that microfluidic chips can further be used to study different aspects of the C. elegans nervous system, extending from fundamental understanding of behavioral dynamics to more complicated biological processes such as neural aging and learning and memory.

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