Looking inside of a mini-brain • Earth.com

Looking inside of a mini-brain


Looking inside of a mini-brain Today’s Video of the Day from the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering describes a new way to study “mini-brains” that could accelerate drug research while reducing the need for animal testing. 

“Despite advances in growing mini-brains, it has been difficult to understand in detail what is going on inside – until now,” said study senior author Professor Adrien Roux.

“Typically, to look inside a mini-brain, we slice it thinly and view it on a slide under a microscope. This is a slow process that can damage the sample. Now, for the first time, we have produced high resolution 3D images of single neurons within intact ‘mini-brains’, revealing their remarkable complexity,” explained study lead author Dr. Subashika Govindan. To grow a mini-brain in the lab, scientists take skin stem cells and reprogram them into pluripotent stem cells, which can develop into any type of bodily cell or tissue. From there, researchers place them in a cell culture that mimics the environment that allows our own brains to grow. Looking inside of a mini-brain shows Scientists have grown a miniature brain in a dish with a spinal cord and muscles attached, an advance that promises to accelerate the study of conditions such as motor neurone disease.

Video Credit: Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering, Geneva, Switzerland and HEPIA

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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