Oh it Glows, Adipose

Microscope image of fat cells surrounded by red blood vessels in breast tissue
Caleb Dawson
Created | 2023

While trying to view milk-producing cells of the breast, researcher Caleb instead stumbled on these adipose cells, lit up like glowing blue orbs by fluorescent proteins.

The breast adipose cells – otherwise known as fat cells – are 30-40 micrometres in size, about the diameter of a human hair. They are surrounded by red blood vessels that weave throughout the breast tissue.

Cells are normally impossible to differentiate from one another, as they are packed closely together and have no intrinsic colour. But by lighting them up with fluorescent proteins, researchers are better able to understand the roles different cells play in organ function and disease, knowledge that can then be applied to creating and improving treatments.