Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 10th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Networking Goals
02 January 2018

Networking Goals

Whether picking up ingredients for dinner or crossing the street to get home, it’s all done with a goal in mind. Goal-directed behaviour uses a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, particularly cells called dopaminergic neurons. Bursts of activity in these neurons are key for goal-directed behaviour. Researchers studied mice to find out how this activity is controlled. They focused on another set of neurons from a part of the brain called the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN). These neurons release a signalling molecule called glutamate that activates proteins on other neurons called NMDA receptors, which are also involved in goal-directed behaviour. Fluorescent imaging of mouse brain slices (pictured) revealed that projections from PPN neurons (green) made contact with dopaminergic neurons (red). What’s more, stimulating bursts of activity in PPN neurons caused the same pattern of activity in dopaminergic neurons, revealing how a wider network of neurons may control goal-directed behaviour.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

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.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.