The entire surface of our brain and spinal cord is bathed in a liquid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which cushions our brain, helps send hormonal signals, and remove waste products from cells. CSF flows through the brain in passages called ventricles, which are lined with ependymal cells. These cells use hair-like organs called cilia to waft the CSF along and prevent waste products building up. Different types of ependymal cells have different numbers of cilia – one, two, or many. Now scientists have examined where in the ventricles these cells are found, and it turns out that the different types are situated in distinct areas. Shown are ependymal cells with the cilia labelled in green – a column of cells with two cilia, in the centre, is surrounded at the sides by ones with many cilia. This patterning may have an important role in helping the brain function.
Written by Esther Redhouse White
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