Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Aged roaches experience perils of stiff joints, find Case researchers

19.12.2003


Humans are not alone in suffering the ravages of aging. Cockroaches endure it, too.



Case Western Reserve University researchers reported in the Journal of Experimental Biology that as the roach’s life wanes between 60-65 weeks after the onset of adulthood, and the cockroach slows down, experiences stiff joints and has problems climbing and a decreased spontaneous fleeing response. Death comes shortly after the onset of these movement problems.

Angela Ridgel, a post doctoral fellow at Case, was the lead author on the National Institute of Health-funded study, "Effects of aging on behavior and leg kinematics during locomotion in two species of cockroaches." Her research looked at walking, climbing and righting behavior in the roach species, Blaberus discoidalis. She wrote the paper with Roy Ritzmann, professor of biology, and Paul Schaefer, a former Case graduate student who studied escape behavior in Periplaneta americana and contributed information about the roach’s central nervous system and escape behavior.


Research for the paper came from Ritzmann’s cockroach laboratory that studies insect movement to help engineer a new generation of robots that can not only move but sense information as they travel rugged terrains or locations unsafe for humans.

Roaches reach adulthood after several molts. After 60 weeks into adulthood, Ridgel observed in lab studies that roach movement was much different from their younger adult counterparts.

Aging is complicated for the six-legged roach. Ridgel found that old roaches develop a "tarsus catch" where the joint between its paw section and leg joint in the front (prothoracic) leg hardens causing the leg to list to almost 45 degrees. As the roach moves forward, the front leg catches on the middle (mesothoracic) leg, which causes the roach to trip and to struggle to regain its tripod-like stance and gait.

Ridgel noted that this catch increased from 35 percent of the 60-week-old adults to 95 percent for 65-week-old adult roaches.

Changes in the sticky pads that help roaches climb walls or on inclined surfaces also underwent a change from a supple, grey pad to hardened brown ones that eventually broke off. Removing a layer of cuticle in the roach paws, she also noted that tracheal tubes and a tendon that help create movement also hardened and browned, causing the paw to bend at the odd angle.

"Insects provide a useful model for aging studies because they’re short-lived compared with mammals," reports Ridgel.

Schaefer contributed to the paper with his look at the roach’s escape behavior and how it changes during the aging process. He also reported in the paper that roaches had lacked the spontaneous response to flee from a predator in lab studies, but this escape behavior returned after the roach’s head was removed, suggesting a deficiency in the brain.

She noted that the importance of this study is that it stresses the importance of multi-level approaches to the study of age-related changes in behavior and the nervous system.

"If we looked at only one study, we would have a skewed view of movement in these adult roaches. You need to test animals in a whole bunch of locomotor situations to get an idea of the potential changes that occur," added Ridgel.



About Case Western Reserve University

Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of an institute of technology and a liberal arts college, Case is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, and service. Located in Cleveland and offering top programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dentistry, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Sciences, Case is among the world’s leading research institutions. http://www.case.edu.

Susan Griffith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cwru.edu/
http://www.case.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>