Modelling Parkinson's Disease in C. elegans: Strengths and Limitations

Liang Ma, Xi Li, Chengyu Liu, Wanyao Yan, Jinlu Ma, Robert B. Petersen, Anlin Peng, Kun Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor system and progressively worsens with age. Current treatment options for PD mainly target symptoms, due to our limited understanding of the etiology and pathophysiology of PD. A variety of preclinical models have been developed to study different aspects of the disease. The models have been used to elucidate the pathogenesis and for test-ing new treatments. These models include cell models, non-mammalian models, rodent models, and non-human primate models. Over the past few decades, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) has been widely adopted as a model system due to its small size, transparent body, short generation time and life cycle, fully sequenced genome, the tractability of genetic manipulation and suitability for large scale screening for disease modifiers. Here, we review studies using C. elegans as a model for PD and highlight the strengths and limitations of the C. elegans model. Various C. elegans PD models, including neurotoxin-induced models and genetic models, are described in detail. Moreover, methodologies employed to investigate neurodegeneration and phenotypic deficits in C. elegans are summarized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3033-3048
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number37
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • C. elegans
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • animal model
  • genetic models
  • high-throughput screening
  • neurotoxin-induced models
  • pathological hallmarks


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