Faculty Advisor

Dr. Jason Bystriansky and Dr. Kyle Grice


Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been utilized in many biomedical disciplines, most notably cancer therapy and drug delivery. Recent research suggests that with specific peptide manipulation, AuNPs can deliver drugs across the blood-brain barrier (BBB), allowing for treatment of neurodegeneration and other neurological afflictions. Neurodegeneration has been shown to be caused by oxidative stress. The present experiment aimed to assess the effects of AuNPs on C. elegans behavior that had undergone H2O2-induced oxidative stress. It was predicted that worms exposed to both H2O2 and AuNPs would have higher survival, mechanosensation, and thrashing rates than worms only exposed to H2O2. After worms were exposed to H2O2 solution and AuNP solution, mortality, mechanosensation, and thrashing data were obtained. Nematodes who were exposed to both AuNPs and H2O2 (μ = 51.1 thrashes/min) did not experience the same decrease in locomotion as the worms only exposed to H2O2 (μ = 30.8 thrashes/min), p = 0.05. This suggests that AuNP exposure may reverse the negative effects of H2O2 on C. elegans movement. Worms exposed to AuNPs by liquid vehicle in the first experiment exhibited significantly less locomotion (μ = 46.3 thrashes/min) than worms exposed to AuNPs through their food in the second experiment (μ = 119.6 thrashes/min), p < 0.001. Results from this study assert that AuNPs may help relieve symptoms of oxidative stress and neurodegeneration, especially in neuromuscular activity in C. elegans.