In a silently shifting network blood vessels grow and reorganise throughout our lives. Not only do they supply blood to our vital organs they appear to provide a roadmap for overlying nerves. Here, blood vessels are seen end-on (green/yellow) in a cross section of bladder wall from a mouse. The animals were supplied with VEGF -a protein known to activate growth of new blood vessels. By highlighting proliferating cells (dyed red), as expected, new vessels can be seen budding from old (arrowed) – a process called angiogenesis. But the researchers also found that inflamed areas (blue lined) with a lot of nerves, had also grown. It seems that VEGF is responsible for the redistribution of nerve cells that happens as a result of bladder inflammation. By probing the complex connections between blood vessels and nerves, scientists are moving towards dulling the discomfort of painful bladder conditions.
Written by Hayley Birch
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.