The saying "healthy in mind, healthy in body" is remarkably true. We know that exercise stimulates new nerve cells, or neurons, to grow in the hippocampus – a part of the brain that deals with learning, memory and mood. To find out how this happens, scientists studied these fledgling neurons in two groups of mice – one that had undergone exercise and one that hadn’t. They found that the neurons of mice that had exercised contained more mitochondria – the DNA power packs that drive cells – and that they were positioned differently to those of the non-exercised group. More research is needed to find out how the number and arrangement of mitochondria, stained green in the section of mouse hippocampus pictured, affect the growth of new neurons.
Written by Mick Warwicker
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.