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A Comprehensive Exploration of Microglia Markers

In neuroscience, tiny but powerful microglia play a vital role in maintaining the delicate balance within the central nervous system (CNS). Delving into the nuances of microglia reveals microglia-specific markers that help to study cellular physiology, track changes and potentially manipulate microglia function.

The specific markers in microglia are ideal tools for exploring the role of microglia in brain development and disease. Creative Biolabs delves deeper into microglia-specific markers, summarizing the most common microglial cell markers to help you easily identify the right ones for your experiments.

What are Microglia?

Microglia originate in the mesoderm and are resident macrophages in the brain and spinal cord. Microglia are distinct from other glial cells because of their immune-related function and origin. Unlike astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, which originate in the ectoderm, microglia originate from bone marrow precursor cells in the yolk sac and migrate to the CNS during early embryonic development.

Creative Biolabs offers a wide range of microglia products suitable and ideal for the study of aging and age-related neurodegenerative and other diseases. Select the products below to learn more.

Cat. No Product Name Types
NCL-2103-P28 Mouse Microglia Primary Cells
NCL2110P153 Mouse Microglia Cell Line BV-2, Immortalized Immortalized Cell Lines
NCL2110P073 Mouse Microglia N9 Immortalized Cell Lines
NCL2110P015 Rat Microglia Cell Line HAPI, Immortalized Immortalized Cell Lines
NCL-2108P38 Human Microglia Cell Line HMC3, Immortalized Immortalized Cell Lines
NCL-7P018 iNeu™ Human iPSC-derived Microglia iPSC-derived neural cells

To unravel the mysteries of microglia biology, researchers have identified specific markers that distinguish microglia from other cell types within the CNS.

Microglia-Specific Markers

  • Ionized Calcium-Binding Adapter Molecule 1 (Iba1)
    Iba1 is a 17 kDa calcium-binding protein expressed only in microglia and macrophages, making it a reliable indicator of these cells. Iba1 is involved in cytoskeletal rearrangements and plays a crucial role in microglia activation and motility.
  • Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells 2 (TREM2)
    TREM2 is a transmembrane receptor expressed on the surface of microglia and other myeloid cells. It plays a key role in the regulation of microglia activity and phagocytosis. Mutations in the TREM2 gene are associated with an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Cluster of Differentiation 11b (CD11b)
    CD11b is a subunit of the integrin receptor family and is highly expressed on the surface of microglia. It is involved in cell adhesion, migration and microglia phagocytosis. CD11b is commonly used in combination with other markers to identify and isolate microglia in flow cytometry and immunohistochemical studies.
  • Transmembrane Protein 119 (TMEM119)
    TMEM119 is a recently discovered microglia-specific marker. It is a transmembrane protein expressed only in microglia within the central nervous system. TMEM119 is particularly useful for distinguishing microglia from other myeloid cells and for assessing their distribution and density in different brain regions.

We give some common antibodies in the table below. You can click on the product to learn more or browse all neural antibodies to find the target you need.

Cat. No Product Name Clonality Applications
NAB-2103-P418 NeuroMab™ Mouse Anti-IBA1 Monoclonal Antibody (CBP4798) Monoclonal WB; IP; IF; IHC-P; FC
NRP-0422-P792 NeuroMab™ Anti-TREM2 Antibody, Clone NR65P Monoclonal FC; ELISA; In Vitro; Agonist; In Vivo
NRZP-0922-ZP4537 NeuroMab™ Anti-TMEM119 Antibody, Clone N23387 (CBP15848) Monoclonal IF
NAB201001LS NeuroMab™ Anti-CD45 Monoclonal Antibody (CBP2170) Monoclonal FC
NAB2007FY173 NeuroMab™ Mouse Anti-CD68 Monoclonal Antibody Monoclonal FC; IF; IHC-P; IP; WB
NAB2007FY44 NeuroMab™ Mouse Anti-ITGAM Monoclonal Antibody Monoclonal ELISA; FC; IHC-Fr; IP; WB

Most Commonly Used Marker Tools in Microglia Research

While many markers exist for identifying and characterizing microglia, some of them are more widely used due to their reliability, specificity, and ease of detection. The following markers represent the most common tools used by researchers in microglia studies.

  • CD45
    CD45 is a pan-leukocyte marker that distinguishes microglia from other non-immune cells in the CNS. It is often used in combination with other markers to identify and isolate microglia in flow cytometry experiments.
  • CD68
    CD68 is a glycoprotein associated with lysosomes and is highly expressed in activated microglia. It is commonly used as a marker for microglia phagocytic activity, allowing researchers to assess the extent of microglial involvement in clearing cellular debris and pathogens.
  • MHC II
    MHC II molecules are involved in antigen presentation and are upregulated in activated microglia. Detection of MHC II expression is indicative of the immune response and is commonly used to identify microglial activation in various neuroinflammatory conditions.
  • Mac-1
    It is highly expressed on the surface of microglia and is often used in conjunction with other markers for the identification and isolation of these cells.

The Role of Microglia Markers in Neuroscience Research

Microglia markers serve as indispensable tools for researchers seeking to unravel the complex functions of microglia. The identification and characterization of these markers contribute to a deeper understanding of microglial heterogeneity, activation states, and their roles in various neurological disorders.

  • Distinguishing Microglia from Other Cell Types:
  • Assessing Microglial Activation States
  • Investigating Microglial Heterogeneity
  • Monitoring Microglial Phagocytosis
  • Identifying Microglial Distribution in the CNS

Markers such as Iba1, TREM2, CD11b, TMEM119, CD45, CD68, and MHC II serve as indispensable tools for researchers, allowing for the specific identification, isolation, and characterization of microglia in various experimental settings. By leveraging these markers, scientists can unravel the mysteries of microglial biology, paving the way for innovative therapeutic strategies targeting neuroinflammatory conditions and neurodegenerative diseases.

Creative Biolabs summarizes the most common microglia markers so you can easily identify the right one for your experiment. As we continue to explore novel markers and integrate advanced technologies, this will open new avenues for understanding the role of microglia in health and disease.

For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.
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