Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Brain Guard
14 July 2017

Brain Guard

Pick any capital city in the world and you’ll find its most fortified buildings are often home to their government – the brains behind running a country. When it comes to running the human body, your brain is heavily guarded too. A barrier, called the blood-brain barrier, allows vital nutrients to get past while stopping harmful toxins. Researchers know special cells that line up around brain blood vessels are involved. However the exact roles of these perivascular cells are not clear. By imaging zebrafish brains (pictured), researchers uncovered a group of perivascular cells (green) clustering around blood vessels (pink) called FGPs. Their shape and location revealed they are equivalent to FGPs found in mammals, including humans. Zebrafish are ideal for tinkering with genes and visualising their effects, which means we now have a helpful tool to find out what this particular group of perivascular cells may be up to.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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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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