A tiny brainlet


Tiny three-dimensional brain-like structures can help study damage and diseases of the brain.


An ‘asteroid’ three-dimensional neural circuit generated from human stem cells.
An ‘asteroid’ three-dimensional neural circuit generated from human stem cells. Neurons are shown in blue, astrocytes in red and green.
Robert Krenick and Jessy van Asperen

Three-dimensional neural circuits, or “mini-brains”, are a valuable tool for studying injuries and diseases of the brain and spinal cord. A new technique that involves astrocytes – the cells that provide scaffolding and support for the neurons – allows them to be grown in weeks rather than the months or years they used to take. The researchers have dubbed them “asteroids”.

The research is described in a paper in Stem Cell Reports.

Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
  1. http://www.cell.com/stem-cell-reports/fulltext/S2213-6711(17)30481-2
  2. http://www.cell.com/stem-cell-reports/fulltext/S2213-6711(17)30481-2
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