Perhaps the brain’s most important task is sustaining normal breathing and heart rhythms. To coordinate this effort, the brain sends signals through the spinal cord to the heart and lungs. In this rat spinal cord, enzymes that produce these signals (specifically glutamate and nitric oxide) are visualized. Understanding how these signals work and interact could reveal treatment options for those suffering from high blood pressure and heart failure.
Image by Li-Hsien Lin, University of Iowa.