By Gareth Morris.
“Prion diseases are invariably fatal neurodegenerative diseases which are characterised by the swelling of neuronal projections and subsequent destruction of brain cells, leaving a spongy appearance within the tissue.”
"The most high-profile of these is variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which is particularly prevalent in the UK, with seven times more cases here than in any other country.
Using a strain of mouse which expresses a fluorescent protein within excitatory neurons, we created an in-vitro model to visualise morphological changes in these brain cells during the progression of the disease, whilst investigating changes in the electrical activity of the network in parallel. The aim is to further understanding of the early disease pathology, as we have demonstrated that intervention at this stage could lead to a full and lasting recovery. The image shows fluorescing cells within the hippocampal CA1 region and the intricate connections between them under 40x confocal microscopy."
Gareth Morris is a postgraduate researcher in the School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine.