ORIGINAL ARTICLE
A low cost and quick assay system using the freeliving nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to determine the effects of Kampo medicines on life span

Takuro Yamaguchi1,2, Akira Onodera1, Kayo Yasuda3, Yasunori Nishio2,4, Makoto Arai5, Michio Tsuda1, Masaki Miyazawa1, Philip S. Hartman6 and Naoaki Ishii1,2

1 Department of Molecular Life Science, Tokai University School of Medicine, Japan
2 NemaBio, Inc., Japan
3 Teaching and Research Support Center, Tokai University School of Medicine, Japan
4 Towa Scientific Co., LTD, Japan
5 Department of Oriental Medicine, Tokai University School of Medicine, Japan
6 Biology Department, Texas Christian University, USA.

AATEX 13(1):1-10, 2008

Abstract
A low cost and quick assay system has been developed using the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to determine the effects of Kampo medicines (traditional Japanese medicines) on life span. A key characteristic of this system is the use of a fer-15 mutant, which is sterile when grown at 25oC owing to the production of spermatids that fail to activate into spermatozoa. This prevented the production of progeny, which would otherwise complicate life span analyses. In addition, liquid culture medium permitted easy handling of the test subjects. We employed this system to examine the longevity effects of 26 Kampo medicines and crude drugs. Of these, Rhei Rhizoma was found to extend the life span and acts as an anti-oxidant that suppresses superoxide anion generation from mitochondria.

Key words: C. elegans; life span; Kampo medicines; crude drugs; oxidative stress

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(AATEX: Altern. Animal Test. EXperiment.: Alternatives to Animal Testing and EXperimentation)