Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 9th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Shooting Stars

Following astrocytes – star-shaped nerve cells – as they divide and migrate in the developing brain

29 December 2019

Shooting Stars

Astrocytes are star-shaped nerve cells which pepper the developing brain, destined to become parts of different brain circuits. In these slices through an early mouse’s cerebral cortex, brightly-coloured ‘brainbow’ fluorescent sensors use blends of colour to highlight pairs of ‘sister’ astrocytes – cells descended from the same parent cell. The similarly-coloured siblings on the left are pictured a day later than those in the middle and appear to have grown further apart. This may suggest that 'related' astrocytes move away and intermingle – bringing diversity to areas of the developing brain. And perhaps only at a particular time – cells at a later developmental stage (right) don't show the same patterns of separation. Understanding more about how migrating astrocytes interact with their environment may reveal clues about how the brain’s circuitry matures before and after birth.

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.