Caenorhabditis elegans as an Alternative Model Host for Legionella pneumophila, and Protective Effects of Bifidobacterium infantis

  • Tomomi Komura, Chikako Yasui, Hiroshi Miyamoto, Yoshikazu Nishikawa
  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology, April 2010, ASM Journals
  • DOI: 10.1128/aem.03021-09

Old worms become susceptible to opportunistic infection, but probiotics keep the host defense young

What is it about?

There are several models to study opportunistic infection. But no convenient model was available to investigate senescence-associated infection. We found that the survival times of Caenorhabditis elegans worms infected with Legionella pneumophila from day 8 or later after hatching were shorter than those of uninfected worms. In contrast, when worms were infected with the legionella, their lifespan was as long as an uninfected control. However, nematodes fed bifidobacteria before Legionella infection were tolerant to Legionella.

Why is it important?

Senescence-associated diseases are increasing with the ascending rate of elder people in the population. Age at infection is likely one of the most important determinants of disease morbidity and mortality. However, it is difficult to prepare numbers of aged mice to study effects of senescence on host defense. These nematodes may act as a unique alternative host that become vulnerable to opportunistic infection with aging.


Professor Yoshikazu Nishikawa
Osaka City University

In this study, what the worms had eaten influenced the host defense when they aged. It appeared foods are important for healthy aging even in the nematodes. Probiotic bifidobacteria could prolong the lifespan and enhance the resilience of the worms. Intervention methods for human aging would be present.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Yoshikazu Nishikawa