Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Stay Smooth
04 January 2015

Stay Smooth

This strip of muscle tissue was removed from a rat’s intestine and kept alive for two weeks, bathed in a chemical cocktail. Its yellow appearance here is produced by the mixture of cells in the enteric [intestinal] nervous system, stained red and green to highlight thriving machinery in this muscle strip, even outside the body. Inside our intestines, nervous impulses control the contraction of smooth muscle and ultimately the digestion of food, such as a large Christmas dinner. These lab-engineered muscle strips (measuring just 500-times smaller than an elastic band), could be excellent candidates for microscopic repair to intestines in conditions such as short bowel syndrome, and have already been grown across tiny bio-compatible scaffolds – a first step towards designing precise structures for future transplantation into human patients.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

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.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.