The heart shape in this picture is formed by two blood vessel cells touching each other. It's a neat reminder that the circulation – the blood flowing through the vessels threading through the body – is inextricably linked to the heart, which pumps it round. By zooming down to the level of individual cells, scientists can study how blood vessels normally grow and work, as well as what happens when things go wrong. Diseases of the heart and circulation account for one in four deaths in the UK. There's a lot we can do to cut our risk – such as not smoking, staying active and keeping a healthy weight – but there's much more to be done to understand heart disease and how to treat it.
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.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.