Oligomers, fibrils, & plaques | Alzheimer’s | medical animation

Aug 21, 2023

Segment from 5-minute mechanism of action animation.

This sequence explores a hallmark and pathophysiological feature of Alzheimer’s disease: toxic amyloid beta aggregates (Aβ) that accumulate into plaques (neurofibrillary tangles) near neurons in the brain.

A challenge for this sequence was to show the assembly of these naturally occurring peptides – oligomers, fibrils, and plaques – all in one continuous shot.

In addition, we show how over time, extracellular amyloid beta aggregates, including oligomers, fibrils, and plaques, are thought to exert toxic effects on neurons and synapses, disrupt cell function, and lead to synaptic dysfunction and loss.

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Proliferation and activation of microglia in the brain

Aug 31, 2023

Amyloid plaques are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

This sequence shows the proliferation and activation of microglia in the brain, concentrating around and engulfing neurotoxic amyloid-beta plaques that have caused damage to impaired neurons nearby.

Microglia are specialized immune cells of the central nervous system, specifically in the brain and spinal cord. They play a vital role in monitoring and maintaining the neural environment. One of their primary responsibilities is to detect and remove damaged neurons, plaques, and other cellular debris from the brain.

We worked closely with our clients to create an accurate portrayal of microglia, including their form and structure, their movement and behavior, as well as the manner in which they form a barrier around these growing, toxic plaques. Microglia size, movement, and morphology were all examined by viewing time-lapse imaging projection software – and then recreated in 3D.

One potentially harmful aspect of this relationship between microglia and plaques is that prolonged activation of microglia in response to persistent plaques can lead to chronic inflammation, which might contribute to neuronal damage and the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

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