Two Neurons on a Glial Cell : 2011

Photograph by

David Scharf

About this image

Scanning electron micrograph of two human cortical neurons on a glial cell. Cortical neurons are cells found in the cerebral cortex, or ‘grey matter’, of the brain. The cortex is the outer 2-4mm of the brain and is where most of the ‘higher’ functions are based – memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language and consciousness. The two neurons in the centre of the image have long, thin dendrites that try to connect with other neurons, while the glial cell beneath them provides nutrients. The central ‘soma’ of the neurons here are about 10 micrometres across. The cells were grown in culture, fixed and dehydrated before being coated with platinum. The colours in this image come from multiple secondary detectors in the microscope through a system invented by Mr Scharf. David Scharf Photography, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A