If you get a stroke – the equivalent of a heart attack but where blood supply to a part of the brain is cut by a clot or burst vessel – there’s three hours in which to restore blood flow before brain tissue dies. Clot-dissolving drugs or surgery can avert the worst effects of a stroke, but only if administered promptly. And since lost brain cells take a long time to grow back, rehabilitation can be painstaking. This snapshot of progenitor cells (stained green) turning into new astrocytes (orange) – the star-shaped and commonest cell type in the brain – offers hope that future therapies aiming to replace lost cells could vastly speed up stroke recovery. Researchers injected neural and vascular progenitor cells into rats’ brains 24 hours after a stroke. Thanks to progenitor cells replacing dead brain and blood vessel cells, rats that received the treatment regained mobility much faster.
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.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.