Although reminiscent of some kind of stellar or solar eruption, you’re actually looking inside a zebrafish’s inner ear. Scientists are able to make videos like these thanks to a new microscope imaging technique that combines two existing tools, one of which is similar to technology used by astronomers. Instead of pointing it out to the stars, scientists use it to capture the cells deep within living tissue. They then turn a series of 2D images into 3D videos. This particular clip captures a zebrafish’s immune cell as it ‘migrates’ through the inner ear, picking up sugar particles (blue) as it moves along. Rather than confining our studies of living cells to the harsh environment of a microscope slide, this technology allows scientists to witness and therefore better understand how cells behave in their natural environment, even deep inside living tissue.
Written by Gaëlle Coullon
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.