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Astrocyte Markers and Functions

Astrocytes play a key role in maintaining homeostasis in the body, supporting neuronal function and regulating the complex network of connections within the brain. To decipher the complexity of astrocyte function, researchers have turned their attention to astrocyte markers. In this article, Creative Biolabs summarizes the most common astrocyte markers as an overview guide to help you quickly identify the right markers for your astrocyte assays.

What are Astrocytes?

Astrocytes are a type of glial cell that not only serve as structural support for neurons, but are also dynamic players in coordinating neural function and overall brain health.

  • Classical or protoplasmic astrocytes, with their dense appearance and numerous branches, are found in the gray matter, providing structural support and maintaining the extracellular environment. Fibrillar astrocytes have elongated projections and are prevalent in the white matter, contributing to the formation of the blood-brain barrier and facilitating nutrient exchange.
  • Astrocytes are also actively involved in regulating synaptic transmission, modulating neuroinflammation, and influencing blood flow.

As a leading manufacturer and supplier of key reagents for neuroscience research, Creative Biolabs provides high-quality astrocytes to facilitate neuroscience research.

Common Astrocyte Markers

Several well-known astrocyte markers have become an integral part of contemporary neuroscience research. These markers aid in the isolation, characterization, and study of astrocytes, providing valuable tools for revealing their diverse functions.

  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP)
    GFAP stands out as one of the most widely used astrocyte markers. This intermediate filament protein is expressed predominantly in astrocytes and is essential for maintaining the structural integrity of these cells. Immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence techniques often leverage GFAP as a reliable indicator of astrocyte presence and activation.
  • S100B
    S100B, a calcium-binding protein, is another key marker for astrocytes. While expressed in other cell types, its abundance in astrocytes and its involvement in various intracellular processes make it a valuable marker for identifying and studying these glial cells. Elevated levels of S100B have been associated with neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases, emphasizing its role as a potential biomarker in neurological diseases. We can provide the most convenient and accurate biomarker analysis for neurological diseases.
  • Aldolase C
    Aldolase C, an enzyme involved in glycolysis, is selectively expressed in astrocytes. Its presence has been implicated in astrocyte-specific metabolic pathways, underlining its utility as a marker for these cells. Aldolase C expression is particularly high in cerebellar astrocytes, highlighting regional variations in astrocyte phenotypes.
  • Aquaporin 4 (AQP4)
    AQP4, a water channel protein, is predominantly expressed on astrocytic end-feet that surround blood vessels and the pial surface. This unique distribution makes AQP4 a valuable marker for perivascular astrocytes, emphasizing their role in regulating water homeostasis and blood-brain barrier function.
  • Connexin 43 (Cx43)
    Gap junctions, formed by connexins, enable direct communication between astrocytes. Cx43, a specific connexin isoform, is crucial for the formation of gap junctions in astrocyte networks. Monitoring Cx43 expression provides insights into the intercellular communication dynamics among astrocytes, influencing synaptic transmission and neural network activity.
  • Excitatory amino acid transporter 2 (EAAT2)
    EAAT2/GLT-1 is an astrocyte-specific glutamate transporter. EAAT2 has many alternative names including solute carrier family 1 member 2 (SLC1A2) and glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1).

We recommend using the following antibodies to the most common astrocyte markers. You can also browse more antibody products to quickly identify the right marker for your experiment.

Cat. No Product Name Clonality Applications
NAB-0720-Z267 NeuroMab™ Mouse Anti-GFAP Monoclonal Antibody (CBP101) Monoclonal WB; IHC; ICC; FC; ELISA
NAB-0720-Z632 NeuroMab™ Mouse Anti-S100B Monoclonal Antibody (CBP224) Monoclonal IHC-P; WB; ICC; IF
NRZP-0522-ZP277 NeuroMab™ Anti-Aldolase C, Mouse Monoclonal Antibody, Clone 4A9 (CBP8855) Monoclonal ICC; WB
NRZP-1022-ZP2029 NeuroMab™ Anti-Aquaporin 4 Antibody, Clone NR25B5A5 (CBP17280) Monoclonal IP; ICC; IHC; IHC-P
NRZP-0822-ZP4514 NeuroMab™ Anti-Connexin 43/GJA1 Antibody, Clone N15806P (CBP11613) Monoclonal WB; ELISA
NRZP-0822-ZP2242 NeuroMab™ Anti-EAAT2/GLT1 Antibody, Clone N7861P (CBP10170) Monoclonal WB; ELISA; S-ELISA

The Role of Astrocyte Markers

The use of astrocyte markers is not limited to identification, but also serves as a window into the multiple functions of astrocytes.

  • Monitoring astrocyte activation. This provides an important tool for studying neuronal inflammation associated with diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury.
  • As biomarkers for neurological disorders. The ability to detect changes in the expression of astrocyte markers may open new avenues for diagnosing and monitoring diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and epilepsy.
  • Neurotransmitter regulation. Astrocytes actively regulate synaptic transmission by modulating neurotransmitters. For example, GLT-1, which is predominantly expressed in astrocytes, plays a key role in clearing synaptic glutamate and preventing excitotoxicity.
  • Understanding interactions with neuronal networks
  • Understand the function of the blood-brain barrier

In the evolving field of neuroscience, astrocyte markers act as a compass to guide researchers through astrocyte biology. The ability to identify, isolate, and study astrocytes through specific markers opens up new avenues for understanding the pathophysiology of neurological disorders and developing therapies.

Creative Biolabs delves into the field of astrocyte markers, offering a wide range of products and advanced technical services.

For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.
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