Submission Date

7-24-2015

Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access

Department

Biology

Faculty Mentor

Rebecca Kohn

Comments

Presented during the 17th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2015 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

This research explores the protective effect on neurons of the antioxidant, catechin, following exposure to external stresses, such as thermal stress and oxidative stress in Caenorhabditis elegans. There are different ways to protect against external stresses, including the use of antioxidants. Antioxidants have the ability to neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) and protect cells against neurodegeneration caused by oxidative stress. While antioxidants have also been shown to protect against thermal stress, the pathway is unknown. Catechin is an antioxidant extracted from Camellia sinensis. This plant is used in making green tea, a common beverage, and occasionally used as a medicine to prevent various cancers and diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Previous research shows that different antioxidants in green tea extracts have protective effects. In this study we are determining whether catechin protects against neurodegeneration of the eight dopaminergic neurons in C. elegans when exposed to thermal stress and oxidative stress. C. elegans were pretreated with catechin at various concentrations and were either exposed to thermal stress, or oxidative stress in lethality assays. Results showed no significant difference in worm survival when not treated with catechin or when pretreated with intermediate levels of catechin. When exposed to high levels of catechin, results showed a decrease in worm survival. This suggests that pretreatment with high levels of the antioxidant catechin, increase toxicity. Other studies support this finding and have shown that exposure of antioxidants in lower concentrations has beneficial effects, and higher concentrations of antioxidants have toxic effects.

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