All tags Neuroscience Microglia markers

Microglia markers

At-a-glance guide to microglial markers

Microglia are the macrophages of the brain and spinal cord and act as an immune defense in the central nervous system (CNS). Due to the shared lineage of microglia and macrophages, many markers are common to both cell types. This guide presents commonly-used microglial markers, with a particular focus on the new microglial-specific marker, TMEM119.

TMEM119
TMEM119 is a cell-surface protein and a specific microglial marker for both mouse and human. Unlike other microglial markers, this marker has the advantage that is isn’t expressed by macrophages or other immune or neural cell types.

Mouse brain tissue sections stained with  anti-TMEM119 (green) (ab209064).

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Choosing a TMEM119 antibody:

Required species reactivityRequired applicationSuggested product
MouseImmunohistochemistryAnti-TMEM119 antibody [28-3] - Microglial marker (ab209064)
MouseFlow cytometryAnti-TMEM119 antibody [106-6] - Microglial marker (ab210405)
HumanImmunohistochemistry

Anti-TMEM119 antibody - C-terminal (ab185333)

Corresponding blocking peptide for ab185333: TMEM119 peptide (ab207307)

CD11b and CD45
A combination of CD11b and CD45 labeling can be used to distinguish microglia from macrophages. Resting microglia are CD11bhi, CD45low, whereas macrophages are CD11bhi, CD45hi.

Rat brain tissue sections stained with anti-CD11b/c [OX42] (red) (ab1211).

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Iba1
Ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1 (Iba1) is a microglial and macrophage-specific calcium-binding protein that is involved with the membrane ruffling and phagocytosis in activated microglia.

Mouse brain tissue sections stained with anti-Iba1 (ab5076).

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CX3CR1
CX3CR1 is the fractalkine receptor and is found on the surface of both microglia and macrophages in the CNS where it responds to CX3CL1 (fractalkine) secreted by neurons

Human microglia (induced from monocytes) stained with anti-CX3CR1 (green) (ab8021).

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F4/80
F4/80 is a 160 KDa glycoprotein found on the surface of macrophages and resting microglia.

Mouse brain sections stained with anti-F4/80 [CI:A3-1] (ab6640).

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CD68
CD68 is a lysosomal protein expressed in high levels by macrophages and activated microglia and in low levels by resting microglia.

Human brain tissue sections stained with anti-CD68 (ab955).

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CD40
CD40 is a cell surface molecule necessary for antigen presentation and expressed by activated microglia and macrophages.

Human tonsil sections stained with anti-CD40 (ab13545).

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Browse CD40 ELISA kits
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Click here for further information on microglial subtypes and markers.

References

  • Bennetta, M. L. et al. New tools for studying microglia in the mouse and human CNS. Pnas 1525528113- (2016). doi:10.1073/pnas.1525528113
  • Bhasin, M., Wu, M. & Tsirka, S. E. Modulation of microglial/macrophage activation by macrophage inhibitory factor (TKP) or tuftsin (TKPR) attenuates the disease course of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. BMC Immunol. 8, 10 (2007).
  • Becher, B. & Antel, J. P. Comparison of phenotypic and functional properties of immediately ex vivo and cultured human adult microglia. Glia 18, 1–10 (1996).
  • Ford, A. L., Goodsall, A. L., Hickey, W. F. & Sedgwick, J. D. Normal adult ramified microglia separated from other central nervous system macrophages by flow cytometric sorting. Phenotypic differences defined and direct ex vivo antigen presentation to myelin basic protein-reactive CD4+ T cells compared. J. Immunol. 154, 4309–21 (1995).
  • Imai, Y., Ibata, I., Ito, D., Ohsawa, K. & Kohsaka, S. A novel gene iba1 in the major histocompatibility complex class III region encoding an EF hand protein expressed in a monocytic lineage. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 224, 855–62 (1996).
  • Ito, D., Tanaka, K., Suzuki, S., Dembo, T. & Fukuuchi, Y. Enhanced Expression of Iba1, Ionized Calcium-Binding Adapter Molecule 1, After Transient Focal Cerebral Ischemia In Rat Brain. Stroke 32, 1208–1215 (2001).
  • Patel, A. R., Ritzel, R., McCullough, L. D. & Liu, F. Microglia and ischemic stroke: A double-edged sword. International Journal of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology 5, 73–90 (2013).
  • Ponomarev, E. D., Shriver, L. P. & Dittel, B. N. CD40 Expression by Microglial Cells Is Required for Their Completion of a Two-Step Activation Process during Central Nervous System Autoimmune Inflammation. J. Immunol. 176, 1402–1410 (2006).


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