28 augustus 2007

The Alzheimer Plaque

As close as one can get !
This nebula-like object surrounded by thousands of points of light is an image not of astronomical origin but from the inner space of the brain—the brain of aging Tg2576 mice, to be precise. This famous mouse, which overexpresses the human APP "Swedish" mutation for familial Alzheimer disease, loses synapses and develops plaques that closely resemble the pathological Aβ plaques found in the brains of human AD patients at autopsy. One such plaque is shown in yellow here. The smaller red and green objects represent presynaptic (synapsin 1) and postsynaptic (PSD-95) components. The depletion of synapses evident within and near the Aβ plaque could account for the cognitive dysfunction in AD. This image was acquired using Array Tomography, a powerful new 3D imaging method developed recently at Stanford University. View/download a higher-quality version. Video credit: Stephen J. Smith in collaboration with Kristina Micheva (Stanford).
Credits: Smith Lab (Stanford) Kristina Micheva Nancy O’Rourke Stephen J Smith Hyman Lab (Harvard) Brad Hyman

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