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The Art in Science

Product Image Second Brain

Second Brain

Kate Walton, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor (Gumucio Laboratory), Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan Medical School

The lumen of the small intestine is studded with finger-like projections called villi that serve to increase the surface area available for absorption of nutrients. This image shows the rapidly growing absorptive surface of a fetal mouse. The red nuclei are stained for a marker of dividing cells so you can see how actively the tissue is growing! The cells outlined in blue will be in contact with the food supply and gut microbes; they function to absorb nutrients but also act as a barrier to keep the bacteria inside the gut lumen from entering the body.