Neurone de cortex embryonnaire de cerveau de rat vu en microscopie de fluorescence
Embryonic cortical neuron from the brain of a rat cultured for nine days, viewed using a fluorescence microscope. The extensions of this neuron are marked in green using the fluorescent protein GFP, with their mitochondria (cell electrical centres) shown in red using the fluorescent protein MitoDsRed. The mitochondria form a more or less interconnected network. Their size varies depending on the neuronal compartment and the physiological and pathological context. For example, in dominant optic atrophy, a mitochondrial disease, their size is altered as well as their distribution up to the synapses. In neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, on the other hand, the morphology and functioning of the mitochondria are defective. Using different treatments adapted to the pathology, research scientists aim to mitigate neuronal malfunctions by restoring a functional mitochondrial system.