Effects of Withania Somnifera on Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Type 1A in the model organism Eisenia Fetida

(1) Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, California

Cover photo for Effects of <em>Withania Somnifera</em> on Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Type 1A in the model organism <em>Eisenia Fetida</em>

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A) affects 250,000 people in the United States alone. CMT1A causes abnormalities in the myelin sheath due to the duplication of PMP22 on chromosome 17. This duplication causes the breakdown of the myelin sheath that wraps the sensory and spinal cord motor neurons. CMT1A is commonly associated with symptoms that include bone deformities, pes cavus (a deformity in the plantar arch), and muscle weakness. This study focused on finding a correlation between Withania somnifera ingestion and the speed of the nerve signal. W. somnifera is a plant in the Solanaceae family, which grows in the Middle East, India, and parts of Africa, and it has been reported to be protective against demyelination. Our model organism, Eisenia Fetida, is a species of earthworm. Our hypothesis was that if W. somnifera is added to E. fetida’s diet, there would be a decrease in demyelination leading to a faster nerve conduction rate. From the experiment, we found that W. somnifera significantly increased the speed of the nerve conduction in E. fetida, making W. somnifera a potential option to investigate as a treatment for CMT1A.

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