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Gleeful Look

GliaMorph – an image analysis toolkit that quantifies multiple aspects of the eye's Müller glia cell morphology

09 May 2023

Gleeful Look

Glial cells are like an unsung network of city support workers – regulating traffic, sweeping streets, keeping things orderly and hygienic in our brain and nervous system. Their shape is key to how they interact with brain cells, but current techniques to assess this morphology are limited. A new imaging tool, GliaMorph, combines different modules to in turn quantify texture, segmentation, and other features at the individual cell and global scale. Researchers turned GliaMorph’s focus to zebrafish Müller glia – cells important to eye health. They were able to measure Müller glia development, observing the growing complexity and rearrangement (pictured, at 72 - top - and 120 - bottom - hours post fertilisation) – with the original image on the left followed left to right by segmentation, structural edges, distance between elements, and the cellular skeleton highlighted. They then measured changing protein positioning in a mouse model of glaucoma, showing the approach’s direct potential for revealing the precise morphology of human disease.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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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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