February 4, 2013

The brain needs blood like Beyonce needed pants at last night’s SuperBowl Halftime show.  (Side note, I think she was and looked amazing, but seriously…pants!)  Today’s image is from a paper describing the development of the blood vessel network in the brain.

The brain depends on an intricate network of blood vessels to supply the brain with oxygen and nutrients, but how the network forms during development is not well-understood.  A recent paper describes how radial glial cells play an important role in blood vessel formation and growth.  Radial glial cells are a type of stem cell in the developing brain and function in neurogenesis.  Ma and colleagues ablated radial glial cells during late embryonic development of the brain’s cerebral cortex and found that blood vessels regressed.  Radial glial cells interact with and stabilize new blood vessels, through use of the Wnt signaling cascade.  The images above show the cortical plate of a developing mouse’s brain at different stages.  Increasing blood vessel growth (green) can be seen from E14.5 (embryonic day 14.5) through E17.5.

ResearchBlogging.orgMa S, Kwon HJ, Johng H, Zang K, & Huang Z (2013). Radial glial neural progenitors regulate nascent brain vascular network stabilization via inhibition of wnt signaling. PLoS biology, 11 (1) PMID: 23349620

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