Pío del Rio Hortega

May 5th

Born 5 May 1882; died 1 Jun 1945 at age 63.

A Spanish neuroscientist who discovered microglial cells in the brain. He localized by developing a new method for staining tissue samples with silver carbonate (19191921). Microglia are  cells of the central nervous system that function as  immune cells. He was a student of the Spanish histologist Santiago Ramón y Cajal, who discovered neurons, which are nerve cells that connect to  the nervous system. Hortega named the cells Oligodendrocyte discovered by Wilder Penfield, who worked in his laboratory for five months in 1924, using the same staining system. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, he moved to Paris in 1940, then to Oxford, and finally  to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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