Image of the Week

Variety Show

  • Published7 Dec 2015
  • Reviewed7 Dec 2015
  • Author Michael W. Richardson
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN
An image of the cerebral cortex of an embryonic mouse, where scientists labelled each type of neuron with a different color.
Mao, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2015.

The human brain contains around 86 billion neurons. While they all share common features, neurons can be classified into hundreds of categories based on their structure and function. In this image of the cerebral cortex of an embryonic mouse, scientists labelled each type of neuron with a different color. These neurons will establish connections with one another and with other parts of the brain, and, in humans, they will form the basis of our higher cognitive functions such as language and abstract thinking. Disruptions in the growth of these neurons and their connections can result in neurodevelopmental deficits like microcephaly, a condition where the brain fails to fully develop. Scientists hope that by studying the growth of different types of neurons in mice, they will gain insight into how disorders like this develop in humans.

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