Axon Shearing at a Cellular Level – White
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This exhibit depicts the mechanism of axon shearing as a result of head trauma. Schematic cubes of brain tissue show the microscopic contents of the brain. A normal brain consists of both grey matter (containing the cell bodies of neurons), and white matter (containing the axons of neurons). When a sudden force is applied to the head, the grey matter moves faster than the white matter due to higher density. This causes the axon to shear away from the cell body at the grey-white matter junction. Axon terminals are also pulled from their connections. The injured neuron can no longer transfer impulses successfully, resulting in atrophy and necrosis of the damaged cell.