BPoD has moved!

BPoD has recently changed our domain name - we can now be found at bpod.org.uk

Please update your bookmarks!

Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Simulating Symptoms
05 July 2012

Simulating Symptoms

Sufferers of von Recklinghausen’s disease – a genetic disorder affecting 1 in 4,000 people – may experience blindness, epilepsy and learning difficulties, as well as increased cancer risk. The disease can cause gross physical disfigurement that leads to its frequent confusion with the ‘Elephant Man’ or Proteus Syndrome. By manipulating genes in a fruit fly, researchers have been able to mimic elements of the disease. When production of certain glycolipid molecules is suppressed, the fly’s peripheral nerves become dramatically overgrown. This also triggers an immune response attracting large numbers of white blood cells to the overgrown nerve (pictured right in cross-section). For comparison a healthy fly nerve is pictured (left); staining highlights different cell types. Generating disease models in flies has great medical potential, since insects have many genes with parallel human versions. These kinds of experiments provide new insight into the mechanisms underlying this disease.

Written by Andrew Purcell

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

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.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.