Image of the Month 2016

December - Vertical interneuron of the dorsal horn labelled with biocytin

Image of the month

Image by Denise Tam, Pharmacology

Vertical neurons are located in the outer layer of the lamina II. The dendrites of these neurons extend vertically into the deeper layers of the dorsal horn. These cells are predominately excitatory in nature, receiving input from neurons in the deeper regions of the dorsal horn.

This neuron is instrumental, as it conveys the perception of pain to the higher regions of the central nervous system.

The vertical neuron in this image is revealed through the reaction of biocytin and conjugated Cy5=streptavidin (red) and its location in the dorsal horn is confirmed with the Alexa=488 labelling of PKCĪ³ neurons (green).


November - Building memories in childhood

Image of the month

Image by Claude Dennis

Memories are formed and stored within the hippocampus of the brain. In humans, the birth of new neurons within the hippocampus declines rapidly but residual neurogenesis can be seen in early childhood.

Here, neuroblasts (green) can be seen supported by an astrocytic network (red) in the granule cell layer of the hippocampus from a
young human.


October - Brain microvasculature and haemorrhage during cerebral malaria

Image of the month

Image by Amy Cohen, Pathology

Cerebral malaria is a fatal consequence of Plasmodium infection. However it’s mechanisms are still not completely understood.

This image shows a 3D visualisation snapshot of a Plasmodium-infected brain Note the brain vessels (purple), the red blood cells (red), the GFP-tagged parasite (green), and the nuclei (blue).

A haemorrhage of the vessel can be seen, with some infected and normal red blood cells moving into the surrounding parenchyma.


September - Microglia ingesting lipofuscin in the outer retina

Image of the month

Image by Alice Brandli

Lipofuscin (autofluorescence – red) is the break down product of photoreceptors and increases in the outer retina following light induced damage.

Lipofuscin is understood to be toxic to the photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium (outer retina). Inactivated microglia typically resides in the inner retina within the ganglion cell layer. This image shows microglia (green) migrating from the inner retina to the damaged outer retina to ingest the autofluroscent (red) lipofuscin.

Technical – Zeiss deconvolution microscope, x20 objective, z=stack MIP, rodent, 20 um, DAPI=blue, IBA=1–green.


August - Rat adrenal gland

Image of the month

Image by Polina Nedoboy, Heart Research Institute

Cross-section of a rat adrenal gland

The adrenal medulla was stained for tyrosine hydroxylase (red) and activated tyrosine hydroxylase (yellow).

The adrenal cortex can also be seen (blue).

Image was taken with a Zeiss Axio Imager .Z2 fluorescence microscope using 10 x objective.


July - Mouse embryos

Image of the month

Image by Radu Zamfirescus, laboratory of Associate Professor Margot Day (Physiology)

Mouse embryos, very early stages

Two embryos are shown, labelled for mTOR, a protein kinase essential for the growth and proliferation of early embryos (green); and with DAPI, for DNA.

Microscope: Olympus IX83


June - Glioblastoma cells

Image of the month

Image by Fadi Gurgis, laboratory of Dr Lenka Munoz (Pharmacology)

Glioblastoma cells labeled after treatment with CMPD1, a tubulin inhibitor
Green – tubulin
Blue – DAPI, a DNA label

Microscope: Olympus BX51


May - Blast(ocyst) off

Image of the month

Image by Kurt Brigden, Blood Cell Development Lab, Physiology

The blastocyst is the final developmental stage of the pre-implantation embryo before attachment. There are two major components: the inner cell mass which gives rise to the embryo proper; and the trophectoderm which forms the extra-embryonic tissues.

Trophectoderm can be identified through expression of the keratin-8 (red) fibres, present on the membrane.

Copper is utilised by cells for mitochondrial respiration and as an anti-oxidant. Import is facilitated by copper transporters 1 and 2. Here we see that copper transporter 2 (green) is exclusively in the trophectoderm and colocalises with Keratin-8+ on the membrane.

Nuclei were stained blue with DAPI.


April - Brown adipose baskets

Image of the month

Image by Badwi Boumelhem, Blood Cell Development and Andrology Research Group, Physiology. The image was taken with the assistance of Jia Hao Yeo.

Adipose tissue from the adult mouse. The fat-containing cells (adipocytes) appear red. They are surrounded by collagen fibres (orange), which form ‘adipose baskets’. These baskets were seen in brown adipose tissue, and not in white adipose tissue.

Scanning electron microscopy.


March - A juvenile sea urchin

Image of the month

Image by Januar Harianto, Byrne Lab, Anatomy and Histology

A juvenile sea urchin 5 days into its development, at the stage of metamorphosis.

Olympus BX60 Dark field compound microscope.


February - Sensing platinum

Image of the month

Image by Benjamin Harris, Cancer Therapeutics Research Group

This image shows HT-29 colon cancer cells treated with the platinum based anticancer drug oxaliplatin. A novel fluorescent probe was used to visualise oxaliplatin distribution. This probe selectively binds to monofunctional platinum species produced during metabolism of oxaliplatin.

Image acquired on the The Zeiss Axio Imager.M2 upright microscope with AxioCam HRm digital monochrome CCD camera. A plan apochromatic 63x oil immersion objective was used to capture images on DAPI and Alexa 488 filters. Images were edited and deconvolved (constrained iterative algorithm) using Zen software (ZEISS). Acknowledgements: Clara Shen, Lucy Dawson, Trevor Hambley and Elizabeth New for probe development.

Publication online DOI: 10.1039/C4CC08077G


January - Pre-retinal vessels in retinopathy of prematurity: The thief of sight

Image of the month

Image by Sam Adamson, Retinal & Developmental Neurobiology Laboratory, Anatomy

Retinopathy of Prematurity is the leading cause of childhood blindness across the globe. It is characterised by the proliferation of “pre-retinal vessels” which grow out from the retinal vasculature and into the vitreous, and can lead to retinal detachment and ultimately blindness. Our laboratory is developing a non-invasive intervention for the disease, based on the concept of dark-rearing.

Here we see pre-retinal vessels (labelled green with GS-lectin) in an 18 day old rat pup raised in normal light with severe retinopathy. Many of the vessels are covered normally by astrocytes (labelled red with an antibody to GFAP). Some of the pre-retinal vessels have ‘escaped’ from that coverage. These ‘uncovered’ vessels are abnormally leaky, and this leakiness can damage vision.

The blue label (s100) stains the nuclei of cells.

Taken on a Zeiss LSM510 Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope at 20x magnification.