Thursday, January 03, 2019

Visualization of brain structures helps to model function

State-of-the-art techniques and software help researchers recreate cellular brain structures and model biochemical processes that support the brain’s energy demands.

​Computer simulations and virtual reality are used by KAUST researchers and collaborators in France to visualize the energetic coupling between neurons and astrocytes and to improve understanding of brain metabolism.

The human brain uses more energy than any other organ, accounting for around 20 percent of all glucose-derived energy. Neurons can’t meet their own energy requirements: they depend on supporting glial cells and the neurovascular system to supply various forms of sugar fuel. However, it is still unclear how this neuro-glio-vasculature network manages the brain’s energy demands.

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Image: 3D reconstructions from serial-section electron micrographs showing an astrocyte (green) ensheathing a pyramidal neuron (grey) and interfacing with a blood vessel (red).
© 2018 Corrado Calì