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Updated October 24, 2022
We've pulled together the most common microglial markers from the literature, so you can easily identify the right marker for your experiment.
Find your marker:
|Microglia-specific markers||Microglia and macrophage markers|
What are microglia?
Microglia are specialized macrophages in the brain and spinal cord. They play various roles in brain development and aging but most commonly function as the innate immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS).
Due to the shared lineage of microglia and macrophages, many markers are common to both cell types.
TMEM119 is a cell-surface protein, which is a specific microglial marker in both mouse and human samples.
This marker isn’t expressed by macrophages or any other immune or neural cell types, so it has a huge advantage over other microglial markers.
Mouse brain tissue sections stained with anti-TMEM119 (green) (ab209064).
Choosing a TMEM119 antibody:
|Species reactivity||Tested applications||Recommended products||References|
|Mouse||IHC-Fr, IHC-P||Anti-TMEM119 antibody [28-3] - Microglial marker (ab209064)||72|
|Mouse, Human||Flow cytometry||Anti-TMEM119 antibody [106-6] - Microglial marker (ab210405)||12|
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 involved with membrane ruffling and phagocytosis in activated microglia.
We recommend Recombinant Anti-Iba1 antibody [EPR16588] (ab178846)
CX3CR1 is the fractalkine receptor 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 is 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).