Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 12th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Transplanting healthy neurons to help heal brain injury – influence of the brain environment on connectivity

12 July 2022

Pushing Boutons

Our brain cells, or neurons, form circuits to store our memories and process thoughts. They connect up at synapses – junctions where they exchange chemical messages. Brain injuries often destroy this fragile architecture, so here researchers investigate how transplanting healthy neurons might help to heal these complex wounds. A high-powered microscope focuses at different depths in a wounded mouse brain, watching as a transplanted cell (highlighted in turquoise) reaches out. It develops structures ready to form synapses – tiny ‘boutons’ (bright dots) along some of its outstretched branches. But after traumatic brain injury neighbouring neurons react too strongly–forming too many connections that may overwhelm the neurons, leading to seizures, and then pruning too many away as the brain tries to correct itself. The next challenge is to find the right balance of neighbourly signals to restore a healthy community of neurons to recovering brains.

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 with translations by the University of Valencia.