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Nickel is the most prevailing metal allergen with the highest sensitization rate among the “TOP 25” contact allergens and can affect about 15% of the human population. We developed a high-throughput screening platform to comprehensively evaluate the nickel toxicity in wild-type C. elegans and explore the underlying detoxification mechanisms in transgenic nematodes.  The platform is capable of rapidly measuring thousands of nematodes accurately in minutes on 4 different sublethal endpoints: growth, brood size, feeding behaviour, and locomotion. Here, combine COPAS Biosort with another state-of-art instrument, Wmicrotracker.


Fifty age-synchronized L4-stage hermaphroditic nematodes were sorted and dispensed into each well of a 96-well plate. Worms were allowed to adapt to the well for 1hr, followed by a 60 min baseline locomotion assessment in the WMicrotracker. A hundred microliter (100 ml) of metal solutions at varying concentrations (200, 100, 50, 25, 5, 2.5, and 1 umol/LNiSO4) were then added to each well, and the plate were returned to the WMicrotracker and maintained at 20ºC for 24hrs. Data was sampled in 60min-blocks, divided by the baseline reading, and then normalized to the control.


Nickel’s effects on locomotion were monitored in the WMicrotracker to several concentrations. Following 24hr exposure, locomotion was significantly reduced at all test concentrations compared to untreated controls at a concentration-dependent manner. The highest concentration of nickel at 200 umol/L caused 69.8% of locomotion reduction.

Chemosphere. 2020 Jul 10;260:127627. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.127627.

Bowen T, Phillip LW, Kathy SX, Jia-Sheng W, Lili T.