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Glial Cells in the Central Nervous System

Glial cells actively impact the working mechanisms of the central nervous system (CNS), positioning themselves as key contributors and important modulatory factors. Through their continually evolving interplay with neurons, glial cells of the CNS take on active roles in key processes such as synaptic development and refinement, axonal myelination, immuno-modulation, metabolite provisioning, and discarded material clearing.

The key types of glial cells in the CNS include astrocytes, microglia, oligodendrocytes and ependymal cells. Each of these cell types serves distinct roles, thereby ensuring the optimal functionality of the CNS. Creative Biolabs introduces the main types of glial cells and their many roles, providing insight into the therapeutic potential of glial cells in disease.

Astrocytes: Metabolic and Structural Support for Neurons

Astrocytes, one of the main types of glial cells in the CNS that outnumber neurons, perform vital housekeeping roles through their end-feet that link the vasculature to neurons. Specifically, astrocytes undertake several key functions.

  • Astrocytes uptake neurotransmitters released from the synaptic cleft and release gliotransmitters such as ATP, D-serine and tumor necrosis factor-α, thereby regulating neurotransmission.
  • By transporting glucose and other nutrients from blood vessels into the brain parenchyma, astrocytes also allow neurons to utilize these substances for energy metabolism.
  • Astrocytes play key roles in neurovascular coupling through regulating the blood-brain barrier by their end-feet.
  • During development, radial glial cells are able to act as scaffolds for neuronal migration and synaptic maturation.

Astrocytes undertake important metabolic and structural supportive functions for neurons through uptaking neurotransmitters, transporting nutrients, regulating neurovascular coupling, and acting as scaffolds during development. They are essential for maintaining normal neuronal function and brain homeostasis. Astrocyte assay helps to understand the function of astrocytes and contributes to the study of neurological disorders associated with synaptic dysfunction.

Creative Biolabs provides a diverse array of high-quality astrocytes. Below is a list of some of the quality products we recommend that you can click on to check them out.

Glial Cells in the Central Nervous System


Cat. No Product Name Types
NCC20-9PZ01 Human Astrocytes Primary Cells
NCL-2105-P182-AM Human Astrocytes, fetal - SV40, Immortalized Immortalized Cell Lines

Oligodendrocytes: Facilitating Rapid Signal Transmission through Myelination

Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells differentiate into mature oligodendrocytes along the radial axis of white matter tracts. They generate multiple layers of compact myelin sheaths around axons through processes extending from their cell bodies. In addition to promoting rapid saltatory conduction, myelin protects axons and provides metabolic support through physical insulation and trophic factor secretion. This myelination process significantly increases the speed of neuronal signaling in the CNS.

Oligodendrocytes enhance neuronal signal transmission through generating multilayered myelin sheaths and provide trophic support to axons, highlighting their pivotal role in facilitating rapid signaling in the CNS. Oligodendrocyte research offers potential avenues for myelin regeneration therapy in demyelinating diseases. We provide professional oligodendrocyte precursor cell assay services to help global customers speed up the development of projects.

Creative Biolabs offers attractive oligodendrocytes from a variety of sources. Please browse the options below for a more in-depth look at the tools available to meet your research needs.

Glial Cells in the Central Nervous System

Oligodendrocytes and OPC

Cat. No Product Name Types
NCL-2108P34 Human Glial (Oligodendrocytic) Hybrid Cell Line (MO3.13) Immortalized Cell Lines
NCL2110P048 Mouse Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells MLGPCs Primary Cells
NCL-21P6-028 Human Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells Primary Cells
NCL-2103-P49 iNeu™ Human Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells iPSC-derived neural cells

Microglia: The Immune Sentinels of the CNS

Microglia continually monitor the microenvironment for any signs of damage or pathogens, playing an important role in immune modulation during both development and injury. As the resident macrophages of the CNS, microglia perform their immune surveillance duties through various morphological and functional states.

  • In resting morphology, microglia exist in a surveilling state as they continuously sample the microenvironment with highly motile processes.
  • Upon sensing injury signals, microglia transform into an amoeboid shape where they can migrate rapidly to damaged sites for phagocytic removal of cell debris.
  • As activated cells, microglia also release both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines to regulate the immune response at injury locations.

Microglia, as resident immune cells in the brain, are associated with neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. Targeting microglia activation provides a novel approach to developing therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Creative Biolabs provides a variety of ready-to-use stem cell-derived microglia cell lines of mouse, rat, rhesus macaque and human origin.

Glial Cells in the Central Nervous System

Oligodendrocytes and OPC

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

Ependymal Cells: Circulating Cerebrospinal Fluid and Developmental Guidance

Ependymal cells form a single layer of epithelial cells that line the ventricles and central canal in the CNS. As motile cells covered with cilia on their apical surface, ependymal cells perform important circulatory and developmental functions through their coordinated beating.

  • Ependymal cells are involved in the directional flow of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricular system by propelling the fluid from the lateral to the third and fourth ventricles through coordinately beating cilia.
  • During development ependymal cells may provide essential guidance cues through expressing molecular signals that instruct the radially oriented development of the embryonic nervous system. Evidence suggests ependymal cells steer neuronal migration and axonal growth through these guidance molecules.

In summary, through their motile cilia and developmental signaling, ependymal cells underscore their importance as both active conductors of cerebrospinal fluid circulation and guides for neuronal patterning in the CNS.

Function Comparasion of The Glial Cells in CNS

The diverse yet interdependent roles of astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia and ependymal cells allow glial cells of the CNS to establish intricate partnerships with neurons. Through coordinated actions in metabolism regulation, intercellular signaling, immune responses and experience-dependent adaptations, glial cells in CNS collectively sculpt a nourishing microenvironment conducive to optimal neuronal function and behavior.

To better illustrate the specific functions of different glial cell types, the table below summarizes their key roles in the CNS.

Glial Cells Types Function in CNS
  • Construction of BBB and BSB, regulating blood flow
  • Formation, function, and connection of synapses
  • Synthesis and maintenance of the ECM
  • Neuronal development, migration and differentiation,function
  • Energy provision
  • Fluid and ion homeostasis
  • Myelination of Axons and speed conduction velocity
  • Support the function and survival of axons
  • Information processing
  • Guide neurons and axons in forming prenatal circuits
  • Control synaptic density, connectivity and plasticity
  • Phagocytose cellular and myelin components
  • Regulate development and responses of neuron andother glial cells
Ependymal Cells
  • Line the brain ventricles and central canal of the spinal cord
  • Involved in the directional flow of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricular system

Applications of Glial Cell Research

As the diverse roles of astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, and other neuroglia subtypes are increasingly revealed, promising avenues for understanding and treating neurological disorders are offered. A number of emerging applications of glial cell research continue to emerge, also demonstrating their importance in neurobiology.

  • Research on glial cells in neurodevelopment. Astrocytes act as signposts for neuronal migration during brain development. Studying the molecular mechanisms that control these processes may help provide insight into neurodevelopmental disorders and potential therapy development.
  • Research on glial cell-neuron interactions. Bidirectional communication between these cell types influences synaptic transmission, neuronal survival, and network activity. Elucidating their molecular signaling pathways may open new avenues for therapeutic development for diseases involving dysregulation of these interactions. We specialize in providing customized neurons, astrocytes and microglia co-culture assay services to customers around the world to advance your neurological disease related projects.
  • Research on glial cells in neurological disorders. The involvement of glial cells in various neurological disorders has become a focus of research. Neuroglial dysfunction has been associated with neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatric disorders and neuroinflammatory diseases.

In these researches, a variety of techniques have provided important insights into glial functions and interactions with neurons. Flow cytometry and molecular assays such as qPCR and Western blot allow for characterization and profiling of distinct glial populations. Confocal microscopy and RNA sequencing shed light on glial-neuronal communication under different physiological and pathological conditions.

Advances in glial cell research have enhanced our understanding of their diverse and critical roles in the CNS. Ongoing glial cell research also holds the promise of identifying new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for a variety of brain diseases.

Targeting astrocyte and microglia function and modulating oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelin formation are emerging as promising strategies for the treatment of CNS disorders. Creative Biolabs is committed to being your best partner in neuroscience research, offering customized products and services.

For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.
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