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Brain cancer stem cells from a brain tumor
Normal stem cells are characterized by their ability to divide indefinitely and generate all of the specialized cell types that make up their host tissue. Cancer stem cells are remarkably similar but possess a key difference: they generate cells that give rise to tumors. Conventional chemotherapy may fail to eliminate cancer stem cells from a tumor, so while the tumor initially shrinks in size, it could eventually grow back and cause an aggressive relapse. Understanding the molecules that distinguish cancer stem cells from other cells will arm researchers with the knowledge to generate targeted therapies against cancer stem cells.
Image by Dr. Biplab Dasgupta, Jane Anderson, Shabnam Pooya, Mariko DeWire, and Lili Miles, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Brain cancer stem cells from a brain tumor

Normal stem cells are characterized by their ability to divide indefinitely and generate all of the specialized cell types that make up their host tissue. Cancer stem cells are remarkably similar but possess a key difference: they generate cells that give rise to tumors. Conventional chemotherapy may fail to eliminate cancer stem cells from a tumor, so while the tumor initially shrinks in size, it could eventually grow back and cause an aggressive relapse. Understanding the molecules that distinguish cancer stem cells from other cells will arm researchers with the knowledge to generate targeted therapies against cancer stem cells.

Image by Dr. Biplab Dasgupta, Jane Anderson, Shabnam Pooya, Mariko DeWire, and Lili Miles, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Sticky glands from a Cape sundew
Drosera capensis, or the Cape sundew, is a carnivorous plant covered with sticky tentacles. Insects become trapped in the sap-covered tentacles and activate the plant’s touch response, called thigmotropism. Within thirty minutes, the sundew rolls its leaves towards its center, ensnaring and enveloping its prey in digestive juices.
Image by José R. Almodóvar, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez.

Sticky glands from a Cape sundew

Drosera capensis, or the Cape sundew, is a carnivorous plant covered with sticky tentacles. Insects become trapped in the sap-covered tentacles and activate the plant’s touch response, called thigmotropism. Within thirty minutes, the sundew rolls its leaves towards its center, ensnaring and enveloping its prey in digestive juices.

Image by José R. Almodóvar, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez.

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Adult mouse foot
During development, limbs begin as tiny buds at defined points along the embryo. Soon after a bud emerges, a distinct zone of cells arises called the apical ectodermal ridge (ARE), located where the tips of your fingers are as an adult. The ARE ensures the continuous, outward growth of the limb and helps organize the sculpting process for digits. Failure to maintain the ARE can result in physical deformities, such as polydactyly (multiple digits) and ectrodactyly (cleft hand).
Image by Dr. Andrew Woolley and Kevin Otto, Purdue University, Adelaide, Australia.

Adult mouse foot

During development, limbs begin as tiny buds at defined points along the embryo. Soon after a bud emerges, a distinct zone of cells arises called the apical ectodermal ridge (ARE), located where the tips of your fingers are as an adult. The ARE ensures the continuous, outward growth of the limb and helps organize the sculpting process for digits. Failure to maintain the ARE can result in physical deformities, such as polydactyly (multiple digits) and ectrodactyly (cleft hand).

Image by Dr. Andrew Woolley and Kevin Otto, Purdue University, Adelaide, Australia.

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Small intestinal section from a mouse
Tiny, finger-like projections called villi cover the length of your small intestine, aiding in absorption of nutrients from digested food. Villi dramatically increase the surface area of the intestines to maximize the amount of space that can actively take up broken down food into the bloodstream. In fact, the average surface area of the (stretched out) human gut is about 300 m2, larger than the size of a doubles tennis court.
Image by Dr. Bryan Millis, NIDCD, National Institutes of Health.

Small intestinal section from a mouse

Tiny, finger-like projections called villi cover the length of your small intestine, aiding in absorption of nutrients from digested food. Villi dramatically increase the surface area of the intestines to maximize the amount of space that can actively take up broken down food into the bloodstream. In fact, the average surface area of the (stretched out) human gut is about 300 m2, larger than the size of a doubles tennis court.

Image by Dr. Bryan Millis, NIDCD, National Institutes of Health.

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Match It Monday!
Plant stem, neural stem cells, or a alveoli in lungs? How did you fare?
Though not the most popular guess, this is actually a micrograph of neural stem cells specializing into mature neurons. Blue staining marks the nuclei of cells, while green and red staining mark growing axons, which can be seen growing on the periphery. This intricate pattern probably arose due to a specialized matrix on which the cells were cultured. Neural stem cells hold tremendous promise in regenerative medicine and drug discovery as they provide an essentially limitless supply of cells that can be turned into desired cell types of the nervous system.
Image by Regis Grailhe and Arnaud Ogier, Institut Pasteur, Seongnam, Korea.

Match It Monday!

Plant stem, neural stem cells, or a alveoli in lungs? How did you fare?

Though not the most popular guess, this is actually a micrograph of neural stem cells specializing into mature neurons. Blue staining marks the nuclei of cells, while green and red staining mark growing axons, which can be seen growing on the periphery. This intricate pattern probably arose due to a specialized matrix on which the cells were cultured. Neural stem cells hold tremendous promise in regenerative medicine and drug discovery as they provide an essentially limitless supply of cells that can be turned into desired cell types of the nervous system.

Image by Regis Grailhe and Arnaud Ogier, Institut Pasteur, Seongnam, Korea.

177 notes