Neurons from a fetal animal growing in tissue culture.
Time lapse microscopy. 20xmagnification onto approx 3/4 inch chip – maybe 200x mag onto screen. 15 min between images shown at 32fps = 8 hours per second.
The neural cells each contain a bright spot, which is a nucleus. And they seem in every case to have two processes – axons? – coming from opposite sides of the nucleus. Or you might say the nucleus is located somewhere along the elongated neuronal cell between the two ends that stretch out in opposite directions. At each end, there are many little branches spreading out.
When many neurons cluster together, their elongated processes seem to combine to form thicker connecting processes, with the many ends each seeking to connect with something. The nuclei travel back and forth along the elongated processes.
There is another cell type – glial cell? – that seems to mediate between the glass coverslip surface and the neurons. This cell type flattens out and covers a lot of surface. In some cases a neuron gets left on its own on the glass surface and doesn’t seem to do so well until it gets picked up again onto the glial cell. It seems that the glial cells are branching in many directions at once trying to cover as much surface as possible, perhaps also trying to find a more suitable environment to cling to.
The neurons seem to be trying to form connections – synapses? – with each other.
Imagine what this culture is thinking!