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

Brainy Bone Balls

Brain damage accelerates healing of damaged bone

31 October 2021

Brainy Bone Balls

Broken bones take time to mend but research has shown that they heal faster when there's accompanying brain damage. Scientists studying this conundrum uncovered a surprising method of crosstalk between the brain and the skeleton: damaged nerve cells release tiny balls, called small extracellular vesicles (sEVs), which travel through the bloodstream to the bones. The image shows the concentration of sEV’s, ranging from low (blue) to high (red), in the skull, long bones and vital organs at the bottom. Left and middle are samples from untreated controls. The sample on the right was infused with sEV’s from damaged brain cells and has red patches in the long bones where the balls have accumulated. Analysis of the sEV’s cargo revealed they contain biochemicals which stimulate bone growth and so accelerate healing. Since they can be assembled in the lab they have potential as a treatment to hasten fracture repair.

Written by Julie Webb

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.