As the years roll by our bodies accumulate scars from injuries we incur. It was long held that our brain is particularly vulnerable to damage as it can't create new nerve cells. Research later revealed this not to be true, with new nerve cells discovered in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. Dysfunction in the ability to make new cells here is implicated in Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and depression. Debates continue over when these new cells integrate into existing nerve networks. To resolve this more information is needed on how these cells mature over time. In the mouse hippocampus, imaging proteins Thy1 (green) and doublecortin (cyan) allowed researchers to identify mature versus adult-born nerve cells, respectively. Focusing on adult-born cells, they tracked cell shape and nucleus size. Together these characteristics accurately depict the extent of cell maturity, helping to uncover how these cells contribute to brain function.
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.