Posts from the ‘Neurons’ Category


Retinal Fireworks

Retinal ganglion cells transmit signals from the rods and cones in the eye to the brain. The retinal ganglion cells shown here have the extraordinary property that their dendrites all point in a single direction. Remarkably, these neurons respond best to objects moving in the direction that the cells “point.”

In this particular image, a mouse retina is seen with “J” retinal ganglion cells marked by the expression of a fluorescent protein. Of course, in real eyes it’s not that simple – the millions of other neurons that these are entangled with are not marked, and thus appear invisible. The image was obtained with a confocal scanning microscope, and pseudocoloured.

Part of the Cell Picture Show’s amazing Brainbow series.


6th Prize – Thomas J. Deerinck

National Center for Microscopy & Imaging Research – University of California – San Diego – La Jolla, California, USA

Specimen: Rat retina astrocytes and blood vessels (160x)
Technique: Fluorescence and Confocal

Astrocytes (yellow) are glial cells in the brain and spinal cord. They are so named for their “star” shape. They are the most abundant types of cell in their cell and give it its physical structure. Among other biochemical and metabolic processes, they are associated with neural synapses that help the brain communicate with itself, and other parts of the body.

(The red and blue stains are blood vessels that supply the area with oxygen and nutrients.)