Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Nerve Culture
24 March 2012

Nerve Culture

Medium spiny neurons, are a kind of inhibitory nerve cell in the brain. These nerve cells progressively degenerate in Huntington's disease: a hereditary disorder of the central nervous system, which erodes the ability to walk, talk and think. The multicoloured bundle here pictured was cultured in the lab from human embryonic stem cells. Proteins called Darpp 32 (dyed red), Ctip2 (dyed green) and Foxp2 (dyed purple) are visualised using laser confocal microscopy. This ‘protein signature’ is the same as that found in cells of the striatum, where damage from Huntington’s disease is initially most obvious. Medical researchers are currently developing new ways of creating medium spiny neurons from stem cells to test their susceptibility to drug therapies, and better understand their development. Being able to make healthy neurons from patients own cells may also provide regenerative treatment options in the future.

Written by Claire Gilby

  • Image Courtesy of Charles Arber

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (the new name for the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) 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.

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