Science Art: Neurons from rat brain tissue stained green with antibody to ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1)… by Gerry Shaw, 2005

Scientific illustration of rat neurons stained with antibodies in green, red and blue.

Scientific illustration of rat neurons stained with antibodies in green, red and blue. Click to embiggen

Glia are the cells around neurons that manufacture myelin (the insulation around nerve cells), help repair cell damage and, apparently, have something to do with creating long-term memories.

This photo shows a few kinds of nerve cells. (It really looks like an early Pink Floyd light show in there!) Though glia aren’t mentioned by name, the image is in Wikimedia Commons’ “Glia” category. The description is:

Neurons from rat brain tissue stained green with antibody to ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) which highlights the cell body strongly and the cell processes more weakly. Astrocytes are stained in red with antibody to the GFAP protein found in cytoplasmic filaments. Nuclei of all cell types are stained blue with a DNA binding dye. Antibodies, cell preparation and image generated by EnCor Biotechnology Inc.

An “astrocyte” is indeed a glial cell. It has the name “astro” because it’s star-shaped.

And yeah, I haven’t gotten a song done this weekend. Still working on words. But it’ll be about glial cells.