High temporal resolution measurements of movement reveal novel early-life physiological decline in C. elegans

Drew Benjamin Sinha, Zachary Scott Pincus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Age-related physiological changes are most notable and best-studied late in life, while the nature of aging in early- or middle-aged individuals has not been explored as thoroughly. In C. elegans, many studies of movement vs. age generally focus on three distinct phases: Sustained, youthful movement; onset of rapidly progressing impairment; and gross immobility. We investigated whether this first period of early-life adult movement is a sustained "healthy"level of high function followed by a discrete "movement catastrophe"-or whether there are early-life changes in movement that precede future physiological declines. To determine how movement varies during early adult life, we followed isolated individuals throughout life with a previously unachieved combination of duration and temporal resolution. By tracking individuals across the first six days of adulthood, we observed declines in movement starting as early as the first two days of adult life, as well as high interindividual variability in total daily movement. These findings suggest that movement is a highly dynamic behavior early in life, and that factors driving movement decline may begin acting as early as the first day of adulthood. Using simulation studies based on acquired data, we suggest that too-infrequent sampling in common movement assays limits observation of early-adult changes in motility, and we propose feasible strategies and a framework for designing assays with increased sensitivity for early movement declines.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0257591
JournalPloS one
Issue number2 February
StatePublished - Feb 2022


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