Seeing stars in the little brain
This image shows astrocytes and neurons in the human cerebellum (termed the little brain, located at the back of the head). Star-shaped glial cells known as astrocytes were stained using GFAP in magenta and ALDH1L1 in cyan. DAPI stain in yellow was used to visualize nuclei, highlighting the density of cells in the granule cell layer. The main inhibitory output neurons, Purkinje cells, are visible as large, dark ovoid-shaped cells. It is believed that the cerebellum is involved in regulating emotions and cognition, critical facets that are disrupted by major depressive disorder (MDD). In the cerebrum, the larger front portion of the brain, post-mortem findings show dysregulation in astrocytes of those who suffered from MDD. However, such alterations in the cerebellum are not known. We aim to explore whether aberrant cerebellar astrocytes and Purkinje cells are present in MDD. This research has the potential to identify unique cell types and networks associated with MDD, and therefore offering opportunities for novel therapeutic targets in the brain.