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15 Microscopic Images from Inside the Human Body [photography]

Category: Amazing world

15 Beautiful Microscopic Images from Inside the Human Body featured” />

Blood clot
Image: David Gregory & Debbie Marshall, Wellcome Images

Get up close and personal with your innards with these 15 amazing 3D-body shots. Almost all of the following images were captured using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), a type of electron microscope that uses a beam of high-energy electrons to scan surfaces of images. The electron beam of the SEM interacts with atoms near or at the surface of the sample to be viewed, resulting in a very high-resolution, 3D-image. Magnification levels range from x 25 (about the same as a hand lens) to about x 250,000. Incredible details of 1 to 5 nm in size can be detected.

Max Knoll was the first person to create an SEM image of silicone steel in 1935; over the next 30 years, a number of scientists worked to further develop the instrument, and in 1965 the first SEM was delivered to DuPont by the Cambridge Instrument Company as the “Stereoscan.”

Here you’ll experience the power of SEM in a journey of self-discovery that starts in your head, travels down through the chest and ends in the bowels of the abdomen. Along the way, you’ll see what’s normal, what happens when cells are twisted by cancer and what it looks like when an egg meets sperm for the first time. You’ll never see yourself the same way again.

1. Red blood cells
Tons of blood cells
Image: Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images

They look like little cinnamon candies here, but they’re actually the most common type of blood cell in the human body – red blood cells (RBCs). These biconcave-shaped cells have the tall task of carrying oxygen to our entire body; in women there are about 4 to 5 million RBCs per microliter (cubic millimeter) of blood and about 5 to 6 million in men. People who live at higher altitudes have even more RBCs because of the low oxygen levels in their environment.

2. Split end of human hair
Split end of human hair
Image: Liz Hirst, Wellcome Images

Regular trimmings to your hair and good conditioner should help to prevent this unsightly picture of a split end of a human hair.

3. Purkinje neurons
Purkinje neurons
Image: Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images

Of the 100 billion neurons in your brain, Purkinje neurons are some of the largest. Among other things, these cells are the masters of motor coordination in the cerebellar cortex. Toxic exposure such as alcohol and lithium, autoimmune diseases, genetic mutations including autism and neurodegenerative diseases can negatively affect human Purkinje cells.

4. Hair cell in the ear
Hair cell in ear
Image: Wellcome Photo Library, Wellcome Images

Here’s what it looks like to see a close-up of human hair cell stereocilia inside the ear. These detect mechanical movement in response to sound vibrations.

5. Blood vessels emerging from the optic nerve
Blood vessels emerging from the optic nerve
Image: Freya Mowat, Wellcome Images

In this image, stained retinal blood vessels are shown to emerge from the black-coloured optic disc. The optic disc is a blind spot because no light receptor cells are present in this area of the retina where the optic nerve and retinal blood vessels leave the back of the eye.

6. Tongue with taste bud
Tongue with taste bud
Image: David Gregory & Debbie Marshall, Wellcome Images

This colour-enhanced image depicts a taste bud on the tongue. The human tongue has about 10,000 taste buds that are involved with detecting salty, sour, bitter, sweet and savoury taste perceptions.

7. Tooth plaque
Tooth plaque
Image: David Gregory & Debbie Marshall, Wellcome Images

Brush your teeth often because this is what the surface of a tooth with a form of “corn-on-the-cob” plaque looks like.

8. Blood clot
Blood clot
Image: David Gregory & Debbie Marshall, Wellcome Images

Remember that picture of the nice, uniform shapes of red blood cells you just looked at? Well, here’s what it looks like when those same cells get caught up in the sticky web of a blood clot. The cell in the middle is a white blood cell.

9. Alveoli in the lung
Scanning Electron micrograph of alveoli in the lung
Image: David Gregory & Debbie Marshall, Wellcome Images

This is what a colour-enhanced image of the inner surface of your lung looks like. The hollow cavities are alveoli; this is where gas exchange occurs with the blood.

10. Lung cancer cells
Lung cancer cells
Image: Anne Weston, Wellcome Images

This image of warped lung cancer cells is in stark contrast to the healthy lung in the previous picture.

11. Villi of small intestine
Villi of small instestine
Image: Professor Alan Boyde, Wellcome Images

Villi in the small intestine increase the surface area of the gut, which helps in the absorption of food. Look closely and you’ll see some food stuck in one of the crevices.

12. Human egg with coronal cells
Human egg with coronal cells
Image: Yorgos Nikas, Wellcome Images

This image is of a purple, colour-enhanced human egg sitting on a pin. The egg is coated with the zona pellicuda, a glycoprotein that protects the egg but also helps to trap and bind sperm. Two coronal cells are attached to the zona pellicuda.

13. Sperm on the surface of a human egg
Sperm on surface of human egg
Image: Yorgos Nikas, Wellcome Images

Here’s a close-up of a number of sperm trying to fertilise an egg.

14. Human embryo and sperm
Human embryo and sperm
Image: Dr. David Becker, Wellcome Images

It looks like the world at war, but it’s actually five days after the fertilisation of an egg, with some remaining sperm cells still sticking around. This fluorescent image was captured using a confocal microscope. The embryo and sperm cell nuclei are stained purple while sperm tails are green. The blue areas are gap junctions, which form connections between the cells.

15. Coloured image of a 6 day old human embryo implanting
6 day old human embryo implanting
Image: Yorgos Nikas, Wellcome Images

And the cycle of life begins again: this 6 day old human embryo is beginning to implant into the endometrium, the lining of the uterus.

All images are used under the Creative Commons license of Wellcome Images.

Edited: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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