Purkinje cells are large neurons in the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for motor coordination. This 3D reconstruction shows Purkinje cells in a living mouse that were labeled with a genetically-encoded indicator to make them detectable. Here we see a side view of Purkinje cells just beneath the surface of the brain. The pear-shaped structures are the cell bodies, which connect to fan-like dendritic trees going upward and long, thin axons reaching downward.
When the image rotates to show the top and bottom views, the distinctive flat structure of the dendritic tree is clear. This alignment is thought to optimize communication with the granule cells beneath them.
Reference: Kuhn B, Ozden I, Lampi Y, Hasan MT and Wang SS-H (2012). An amplified promoter system for targeted expression of calcium indicator proteins in the cerebellar cortex.
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