Caenorhabditis elegans in anthelmintic research – Old model, new perspectives

Steffen R. Hahnel, Clayton M. Dilks, Iring Heisler, Erik C. Andersen, Daniel Kulke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


For more than four decades, the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been extensively used in anthelmintic research. Classic genetic screens and heterologous expression in the C. elegans model enormously contributed to the identification and characterization of molecular targets of all major anthelmintic drug classes. Although these findings provided substantial insights into common anthelmintic mechanisms, a breakthrough in the treatment and control of parasitic nematodes is still not in sight. Instead, we are facing increasing evidence that the enormous diversity within the phylum Nematoda cannot be recapitulated by any single free-living or parasitic species and the development of novel broad-spectrum anthelmintics is not be a simple goal. In the present review, we summarize certain milestones and challenges of the C. elegans model with focus on drug target identification, anthelmintic drug discovery and identification of resistance mechanisms. Furthermore, we present new perspectives and strategies on how current progress in C. elegans research will support future anthelmintic research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-248
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Anthelmintic drug
  • Anthelmintic resistance
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Mode of action
  • Parasitic nematode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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