The Universe Within: The Highways of Our Minds

Neuron image from Cincinnati Children's

Much like cities and towns connected by highways and streets, the neurons in our brains are connected by nerve fibers called dendrites and axons. Neurons are supported by other neural cells called astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s are studying how neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes form from neural stem cells during development and in the adult brain, which could shed new light on why some people develop diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and brain tumors. Deeper understanding of the molecular signals involved in these diseases may eventually may lead to more successful treatments.

This image of mouse neuron formation was created using a fluorescent microscope. The neurons were treated with proteins that bind only to specific parts of the sample and cause them to glow in different colors when viewed under the microscope. In this image, blue indicates cell nuclei while red and green reveal axons and dendrites.

This image was provided by Biplab DasGupta, PhD, MS, a member of the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute at Cincinnati Children’s.  Learn more about DasGupta’s research.

View other images in our Universe Within collection.

Tim Bonfield

About the Author: Tim Bonfield

Tim Bonfield is an associate in Marketing & Communications at Cincinnati Children's. He joined the medical center in 2009 after 17 years at the Cincinnati Enquirer as an award-winning health beat writer, assistant local news editor and Butler-Warren bureau chief. Tim is a proud Cincinnati native and the frazzled father of two teen daughters.

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