For the best experience on the Abcam website please upgrade to a modern browser such as Google Chrome
Reviewed July 2, 2021
Microglia are the macrophages of the brain and spinal cord that 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 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 it isn’t expressed by macrophages or other immune or neural cell types.
Mouse brain tissue sections stained with anti-TMEM119 (green) (ab209064).
Choosing a TMEM119 antibody:
|Required species reactivity||Required application||Recommended products|
|Mouse||Immunohistochemistry||Anti-TMEM119 antibody [28-3] - Microglial marker (ab209064)|
|Mouse||Flow cytometry||Anti-TMEM119 antibody [106-6] - Microglial marker (ab210405)|
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.
We recommend Recombinant Anti-CD45 antibody [EPR20033] (ab208022)
Image (left): Mouse tissue (Eo771 breast cancer) stained with anti-CD11b (green) (ab133357).
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.
We recommend Recombinant Anti-Iba1 antibody [EPR16588] (ab178846)
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.
F4/80 is a 160 KDa glycoprotein found on the surface of macrophages and resting microglia.
We recommend Recombinant Anti-F4/80 antibody [SP115] (ab111101)
Image (left): Mouse liver tissue sections stained with anti-F4/80 [SP115] (ab111101).
CD68 is a lysosomal protein expressed in high levels by macrophages and activated microglia and in low levels by resting microglia.
We recommend Recombinant Anti-CD68 antibody [EPR20545] (ab213363)
Image (left): Human cervical carcinoma tissue sections stained with anti-CD68 (ab213363).
CD40 is a cell surface molecule necessary for antigen presentation and expressed by activated microglia and macrophages.
We recommend Recombinant Anti-CD40 antibody [EPR20735] (ab224639)
Image (left): Human diffuse large B-cell lymphoma tissue sections stained with anti-CD40 (ab224639).