Mouse Cerebellar Purkinje Neurons
Mouse Purkinje Neurons
Fluorescent micrograph showing the cerebellar network of purkinje neurons from a mouse imaged using 2-photon microscopy. The neurons are visualised by labelling the cells with green fluorescent protein (GFP). Purkinje cells are specialised neurons found in layers within the cerebellum (at the back of the brain). In humans they are one of the longest types of neurons in the brain and are involved in transmitting motor output from the cerebellum.
Clearly visible at the top of the image are the dendrites, with a layer of circular cell bodies in the middle of the image. The thinner projections extending down from the bottom of the cell bodies are their axons.
The image is made by taking serial optical sections through the tissue in the 'z' axis, like looking down on an apple and thinly slicing the top off and taking a photograph. You then take another slice and photograph it and then repeat until you have photographed your way through the apple. The images are then laid on top of each other and flattened so that you can see dimmer cells that may have been deeper in the tissue compared to brighter ones in the front. This technique, called a Z-projection, makes it easier to follow the axons and dendrites of the cells.