Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 85–94

Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system to study aging of learning and memory


DOI: 10.1007/BF02700625

Cite this article as:
Murakami, S. Mol Neurobiol (2007) 35: 85. doi:10.1007/BF02700625


The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is an excellent model organism to study biological processes relevant to a wide variety of human and rodent disease systems. Previous studies have suggested that mutants of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 pathway show life extension and increased stress resistance in various species, including C. elegans, the fruit fly, and the mouse. It has recently been shown that the life-extending mutants, including the age-1 phosphatidylinositol-3 OH kinase mutants and the daf-2 insulin-like receptor mutants, display improvement in a type of associative learning behavior called thermotaxis learning behavior. The age-1 mutant shows a dramatic threefold extension of the health-span that ensures thermotaxis learning behavior, suggesting strong neuroprotective actions during aging. The age-1 and daf-2 mutants show resistance to multiple forms of stress and upregulates the genes involved in reactive oxygen species scavenging, heat shock, and P450 drug-detoxification. The life extending mutants may confer resistance to various stress and diseases in neurons. Therefore, C. elegans provides an emerging system for the prevention of age-related deficits in the nervous system and in learning behaviors. This article discusses the aging of learning and memory and the neuroprotection effects of life-extending mutants on learning behaviors.

Index Entries

Aging age-related memory impairment learning and memory Insulin/IGF-1 signal stress resistance cognitive behavior neuroprotection C. elegans 

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gheens Center on Aging, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of Louisville School of MedicineLouisville