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Nerve Culture
24 March 2012

Nerve Culture

Medium spiny neurons, are a kind of inhibitory nerve cell in the brain. These nerve cells progressively degenerate in Huntington's disease: a hereditary disorder of the central nervous system, which erodes the ability to walk, talk and think. The multicoloured bundle here pictured was cultured in the lab from human embryonic stem cells. Proteins called Darpp 32 (dyed red), Ctip2 (dyed green) and Foxp2 (dyed purple) are visualised using laser confocal microscopy. This ‘protein signature’ is the same as that found in cells of the striatum, where damage from Huntington’s disease is initially most obvious. Medical researchers are currently developing new ways of creating medium spiny neurons from stem cells to test their susceptibility to drug therapies, and better understand their development. Being able to make healthy neurons from patients own cells may also provide regenerative treatment options in the future.

Written by Claire Gilby

  • Image Courtesy of Charles Arber

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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