Fetal Gyral Development

During the first half of gestation, the human fetal brain has a smooth surface.  At about 20 weeks gestation, the brain begins to form the bumps (gyri) and grooves (sulci) that are typical of the adult brain, averaging about 1 sulcus per week of gestation after 20 weeks.  The brain of this 25 week gestation... Continue Reading →

Cortical Atrophy in an Elderly Person (90 years old)

A normal adult loses about 0.2% of brain volume every year after middle age.  Compared to young and middle-aged adults, the brains of the elderly have comparatively widened sulci, narrowed gyri, a thin cortical ribbon, and enlarged ventricles due to progressive brain volume loss, which, clinically, may contribute slower processing speed for cognitive tasks and other changes.  Microglia-mediated synaptic pruning and other etiologies for decreasing cortical volume in the... Continue Reading →

Premature Fetal Brain

The brain of a premature fetus, shown here (front of brain pointing to the left) is initially smooth in the early stages of development.  After about 20 weeks gestation, grooves develop in the cortical surface that gradually become more defined until they form well delineated gyri and sulci (i.e. bumps and grooves) typical of a mature brain.  The brain... Continue Reading →

Nerve Root

This image of a nerve root shows axons myelinated by oligodendroglial cells of the central nervous system (top of image) and Schwann cells of the peripheral nervous system (bottom of image) at a point of transition called the Obersteiner-Redlich zone.    

Dorsal Root Ganglia

Dorsal root ganglia are located along the length of the spinal cord and are composed of clusters of large neuron cell bodies, each with a prominent nucleus and nucleolus, that belong to sensory nerves whose axons deliver sensory information to the spinal cord.

Astrocytes and the Blood Brain Barrier

Astrocytes, like the one highlighted here by GFAP stain, are star-shaped glial cells that are involved in a large number of CNS functions, including the blood brain barrier. Together with pericytes and endothelial cells, astrocyte end plates surrounding a vessel forms an essential component of the blood brain barrier which severely limits passage of certain... Continue Reading →

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