As you read this page, your brain is engaging neurons and glia to process the information. This eventually increases the demand for neuronal metabolic energy leading to increased production of energy and local changes in the diameter of the proximal vessels to balance out this demand. The complex structural organization of the two dominant cell classes in the brain, neurons and glia, which play a role in these effects, is known as the Neuro-Glia-Vascular (NGV) system.
Blue Brain’s first digital reconstruction of the NGV provides a new framework to study brain function in health and disease.
The study, published in Cerebral Cortex, represents a major milestone for the EPFL Blue Brain Project because now we can reconstruct the architecture of non-neuronal entities such as blood vessels and the supporting cells called glia. This means it is possible to capture the way that neurons, glia and the blood supply interact. These reconstructions of the brain tissue provide a sub-micron precise framework needed to simulate the molecular interactions relevant to understanding how neurons are supported and nurtured. They can also be used to investigate how drugs interact and explore how neurodegenerative diseases arise.
Blue Brain has made all the experimental data, models and tools used to reconstruct brain tissue at this resolution, open source in the Blue Brain NGV web portal.