From protest marches to football matches, when it comes to crowd control police officers line the streets where the greatest throngs of people pass. It's all about reacting to the flow of the crowd. The same is true of cells lining developing blood vessels. As networks of vessels develop, some vessels are dismantled while others are reinforced. This is led by the migration of the cells that line them. To find out what drives this, researchers looked to developing blood vessels in the mouse eye. High-resolution imaging uncovered which vessels were being dismantled (blue). A computer program then estimated the blood flow through all the vessels imaged. High blood flow matched stable vessels, while low blood flow matched dismantling vessels. A closer look revealed cells were drawn towards high blood flow regions. As with officers reining in a marching crowd, these cells head to where they are needed most.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.