Exploring the human body using 3D-image technology

The Human Protein Atlas consortium has published 18 movies exploring the human body using a novel technology for 3D-imaging based on light sheet microscopy. The open access movies use antibodies to stain various proteins in tissues and the platform allows exploration of the spatial distribution of these proteins in the different parts of the human body.

A set of movies have been created to allow exploration of the human body down to single cell level. Each video is generated by light sheet microscopy using the resources from the Human Protein Atlas consortium. Various parts of the human body are visualized, including videos describing the molecular consequences of neurological diseases. These movies have been created by Dr Csaba Adori, Department of Neoroscience, Karolinska Institutet. All movies have been produced in collaboration with FaktaBruket, Stockholm, Sweden.

Each video is around five minutes long and contains breath-taking journeys into our bodies. They can be used as educational material to learn more about human biology and each video is accompanied with an interview with a scientist to discuss the content. Altogether, 18 separate movies are launched:

Part 1: Insulin in the Pancreas

This video shows the protein insulin (INS) in the Langerhans islands in pancreas, including the exploration of the distribution of nerves in this organ. Interview: Dr Cecilia Lindskog, Uppsala University.

Part 2: The Pumping Heart

This movie takes a journey into the heart showing the outline of this important organ also involved in many cardiovascular diseases. Interview: Dr Peder Olofsson, Karolinska Institutet.

Part 3: The Nerves of the Heart

This movie shows the local nervous system of the heart, for example related to the sympathetic fight-or-flight signaling. Interview: Prof Cecilia Linde, Karolinska Institutet.

Part 4: An Orphan Receptor in the Brain

This movie shows the distribution of the orphan GPR151 receptor (GPR151) in the brain. Interview: Dr Jan Mulder, Karolinska Institutet.

Part 5: Blood-brain barrier

This movie shows astrocytes and endothelial cells in the brain, two of the cell types important for the blood-brain-barrier, keeping the brain safe from intruders. Interview: Dr Evelina Sjöstedt, Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University.

Part 6: Wiring of Nerves

This movie shows the development of the peripheral nervous system and the complexity of the wiring of nerves. Interview: Prof Patrik Ernfors Karolinska Institutet.

Part 7: Muscle and the Disease ALS

This movie shows the innervation of nerves in muscle tissue and the motor endplate connections controlling muscle contraction. Interview: Dr Eva Hedlund, Karolinska Institutet.

Part 8: Alzheimer´s Disease

This movie shows the presence and location of amyloid beta plaques and tau tangles in brain tissue with Alzheimer´s disease. Interview: Prof Tomas Hökfelt, Karolinska Institutet.

Part 9: Parkinson´s Disease

This movie shows the neurons that are affected by Parkinson´s disease, the dopamine producing neurons located in the substantia nigra. Interview: Prof Per Svenningsson, Karolinska Institutet.

Part 10: Narcolepsy

This movie shows the orexin producing neurons in the brain, located in the hypothalamus, which are crucial for sleep/wake cycle and involved in narcolepsy. Interview: Dr Csaba Adori, Karolinska Institutet.

Part 11: The Inner Ear

The movie shows the important part of the human body - the inner ear - responsible for both hearing and balance. Watch the spectacular structure where the inner ear is revealed. Interview: Dr Francois Lallemend, Karolinska Institutet.

Part 12: Breast Cancer

This movie demonstrates some characteristics of breast cancer using light sheet microscopy. The technique allows for visualizing structural alterations in breast cancer compared to normal breast. Interview: Dr. Fredrik Ponten, Uppsala university.

Part 13: The Nervous Gut

This movie explores the gut which is responsible for digesting the food we eat and provides the whole body with nutrients. Interview: Dr. Evelina Sjöstedt

Part 14: The Kidneys

This video shows the kidneys responsible for filtering a mindblowing 180 liters of blood daily, eliminating toxins, regulating blood pressure and creating urine. Interview: Dr Cecilia Lindskog, Uppsala University.

Part 15: The Placenta

This movie presents the placenta which is the tree of life. It is the baby’s lungs, liver, kidneys, even its digestive system. Images in 3D can help us understand and visualize this fascinating organ. Interview: Dr. Susanne Lager, Uppsala University.

Part 16: The Spleen

This movie shows the spleen where our blood is being recycled and stored, a hub for our body's core defence against diseases. Thanks to the images in 3D we can start to understand what cells are involved when the immune cells talk to the nervous system and vice versa. Interview: Prof. Fredrik Pontén, Uppsala University

Part 17: The Fatty Liver

This movie shows the liver and more specifically a “fatty liver” with inflammation. Fatty liver affects one quarter of the population in the Western world. The accumulation of fat makes the liver’s function falter which can lead to a number of diseases. Interview: Dr. Ewa Ellis, Karolinska Institutet

Introduction to the human cell