Using state-of-the-art imaging technology, Harvard University scientists develop a cell mouse from a region of the brain.
The specialists examined more than a million cells and not only localized different types of neurons, even where they were and their various functions.
"This provides a granular view of the cellular, molecular and functional organization of the brain, no one had combined these three views before," explained Catherine Dulac, one of the researchers on this project.
According to a statement from the institution, this work in itself is a progress, because with this atlas it is possible to understand different behaviors of this organ and it will be a technology that can be used in any part of the brain.
The study was born from the interest of experts to work on what they called a fundamental biological problem and a technological challenge: the technologies so far require researchers to dissociate tissue cells and in the process are lost priceless information those cells were organized in the fabric, they supported.
"The brain is unusual because it has this topological arrangement of neurons, so we want to look at a section of the brain and see which cells are there, but also where they are and what kind of cells surround them," Dulac said.
In collaboration with the scientist Xiaowei Zhuang, they developed high-resolution tools and techniques that allowed them to obtain images of single molecules, with nanoscale resolution.
"We do not have one or two different types of molecules in our cells, you have thousands of tens of thousands of genes, which are expressed to make the molecular machines of your cells work," they explained.
In the future, scientists hope to further explore the structure of the hypothalamus, including ways to better understand how cells are connected to each other.