Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

BPoD is 5

In 2017 we celebrate five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

Modified Motors
24 April 2017

Modified Motors

Motor neurone disease is tragic and incurable. It withers away the connections between motor neurones – nerve cells running from the brain to the muscles – and the muscles themselves. Over time, sufferers are gradually paralysed, losing the ability to move, speak or even breathe. Yet the disease runs different courses in individual people, affecting some nerves but not others or progressing faster or more slowly. The image on the left shows nerves (green) connecting up correctly with abdominal muscles (red) in healthy mice, while the missed connections on the right are seen in the muscles of a mouse with a version of motor neurone disease. By studying these animals in detail, researchers have found that nerve cells with low levels of a molecule called alpha-synuclein will degrade faster than those with high levels. The finding could lead to new therapies to slow or even stop the disease’s distressing and fatal progression.

Written by Kat Arney

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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.

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