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The photo shows a confocal microscopy image of perineuronal nets (PNNs), which are specialized extracellular matrix (ECM) structures in the brain. The PNN surrounds some nerve cells in brain regions including the cortex, hippocampus and thalamus. Researchers study the PNN to investigate their involvement stabilizing the extracellular environment and forming nets around nerve cells and synapses in the brain. Abnormalities in the PNNs have been linked to a variety of disorders, including epilepsy and schizophrenia, and they limit a process called neural plasticity in which new nerve connections are formed. To visualize the PNNs, researchers labeled them with Wisteria floribunda agglutinin (WFA)-fluorescein. Related to image 3742.
Tom Deerinck, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR)
Varda Lev-Ram Ellisman and Mark Ellisman, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research
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