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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 564093, 6 pages
Review Article

Formation and Regulation of Adaptive Response in Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

Key Laboratory of Environmental Medicine Engineering in Ministry of Education, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical School of Southeast University, Nanjing 210009, China

Received 13 April 2012; Accepted 24 June 2012

Academic Editor: David R. Jones

Copyright © 2012 Y.-L. Zhao and D.-Y. Wang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


All organisms respond to environmental stresses (e.g., heavy metal, heat, UV irradiation, hyperoxia, food limitation, etc.) with coordinated adjustments in order to deal with the consequences and/or injuries caused by the severe stress. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans often exerts adaptive responses if preconditioned with low concentrations of agents or stressor. In C. elegans, three types of adaptive responses can be formed: hormesis, cross-adaptation, and dietary restriction. Several factors influence the formation of adaptive responses in nematodes, and some mechanisms can explain their response formation. In particular, antioxidation system, heat-shock proteins, metallothioneins, glutathione, signaling transduction, and metabolic signals may play important roles in regulating the formation of adaptive responses. In this paper, we summarize the published evidence demonstrating that several types of adaptive responses have converged in C. elegans and discussed some possible alternative theories explaining the adaptive response control.