Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Little Brain
10 June 2014

Little Brain

Tucked into the base of your skull above the back of your neck is your cerebellum, Latin for 'little brain' - a collection of nerve cells moulded into a complex, folded shape. It's a vital part of the brain responsible for co-ordinating movement. Mice with a faulty version of a gene called Acp2 have a smaller cerebellum than normal and it doesn't fold up correctly. As a result, the animals can't move properly and they die a few weeks after birth. Pictured are slices through a normal 24-day-old mouse cerebellum. The red stripes highlight special nerve cells called Purkinje neurons, which are involved in movement. These cells are missing or develop late in the mice with faulty Acp2, which explains the animals' problems. Humans also have the same gene, so this research helps to reveal what might be going on as our own brains grow and develop.

Written by Kat Arney

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