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Glial Cell Markers
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Glial Cell Markers

Glial cells, commonly called neuroglia or simply glia, are non-neuronal cells that provide support and nutrition, maintain homeostasis, form myelin, and participate in signal transmission in the nervous system. In the human brain, glia are estimated to outnumber neurons by about 10 to 1. Glial cells include microglia, and macroglia (astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, ependymal cells, radial glia, schwann cells, satellite cells).

Glial cells provide support and protection for neurons, the other main type of cell in the central nervous system. They are thus known as the "glue" of the nervous system. The four main functions of glial cells are to surround neurons and hold them in place, to supply nutrients and oxygen to neurons, to insulate one neuron from another, and to destroy pathogens and remove dead neurons.

General Glial Cell Markers

A2B5-antigen (A2B5)


  • a glial cell activation marker in cerebrospinal fluid. PMID: 9761454


  • a unique differentiation marker in the glial cell lineage. PMID: 10464276

O4-antigen (O4)


  • a selective and sensitive immunohistochemical marker of radial glial cells. PMID: 2215915


  • expressed in the Bergmann glia, a population of radial glia present in the Purkinje cell layer. PMID: 16797497


Astrocyte/Astroglia Markers

Astrocytes play a critical role in maintaining normal brain physiology during development and in adulthood. played a important role in the age related deficits in learning and memory. PMID: 15843051

alpha Smooth Muscle Actin

  • represents a new marker for subsets of astrocytes. PMID: 1870159


  • a marker for reactive astrocytes in the adult rat brain following injury. PMID: 15305856



  • Both proteins were selective markers of astrocytic plasma membranes. GLT-1 was much higher in hippocampal astrocytes than in cerebellar astrocytes. PMID: 7546749

Glutamine Synthetase (GS)

Mab 6.17

  • recognizes a molecule associated with gliofilaments, which is essentially associated to reactive astrocytes expressing high levels of vimentin. PMID: 8581958

Mab J1-31

  • recognizes a new protein present in GFAP positive cells (astrocytes) in the brain. PMID: 2421799

Non-Neuronal Enolase (NNE)


  • astroglial proteins. PMID: 3707866
  • an astrocyte marker in rat cerebellum which was confirmed by immuno-electron microscopy. PMID: 7011781


  • SPARC (secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine)-related protein. PMID: 8869553
  • an astrocyte marker that may be used to investigate astrocyte heterogeneity and analyze glial cell lineages during neural development. PMID: 8869553
  • play an important role in reactive astrocytosis subsequent to a wide variety of neural trauma. PMID: 8869553

Microglia Markers

Cholera Toxin B subunit

  • a surface marker for murine microglia but not oligodendrocytes or astrocytes. PMID: 9726431



  • a specific marker for activated macrophages/microglia. PMID: 15993386


  • a marker for microglia, especially for reactive microglia and macrophages. PMID: 2596262

Keratan sulphate (5D4)

  • a marker of differentiation of ramified microglia. PMID: 7544699


  • a marker for microglia and brain macrophages in routinely processed human tissues. PMID: 1462766


Pinocytotic Labeling

  • a select cell marker for microglia, which may be extremely useful in the identification and study of ramified microglial cells. PMID: 2033242

RCA-1 (lectin)

Oligodendroglia/Oligodendrocyte Markers


  • a specific marker for oligodendrocytes but not for myelinsheaths. as a lysosome-associated membrane protein that is being localized specifically in oligodendrocytes. detected only in the cell bodies of oligodendrocytes. detected mostly around lysosome and partly in Golgi apparatus by electron microscopy. PMID: 11157071

Amphoterin (P30, HMG-1) and RIP

  • early markers of oligodendrocytes in the developing rat spinal cord. PMID: 8089705

Carbonic Anhydrase II (CA II)



  • a marker for oligodendrocytes. PMID: 385109
  • a specific cell-surface antigenic marker for oligodendrocytes in culture. PMID: 355894

Microtubule-Associated Protein 4 (MAP-4)

Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein (MOG)


  • a novel monoclonal antibody specific for oligodendrocytes. PMID: 11209960




  • a paraneoplastic encephalomyelitis-related antigen, is a marker of adult oligodendrocytes. PMID: 9600223

Sulph I

Transferrin Binding Protein (TfBP)


  • an oligodendrocyte-specific marker which is expressed earlier than galactocerebroside. PMID: 3213576

Schwann Cell Markers

1E8 (P0)

  • an early marker for the Schwann cell lineage and specific for myelinating and nonmyelinating Schwann cells in mature chickens. PMID: 1720625

217c (Ran-1)


  • expressed by immature Schwann cells in vitro and in vivo and downregulated as the cells upregulate myelin genes. PMID: 11157078

Beta 4 integrin



  • immunocytochemical markers for human Schwann cells in vitro. PMID: 3732467

S-100 protein

  • a well established marker for normal and neoplastic Schwann cells, PMID: 2413766


  • a useful immunohistochemical marker of Schwann cells and myelin of the PNS. PMID: 9589489

SCIP (also known as Tst-1 or Oct-6)

  • expressed in proliferating Schwann cells in the PNS and O2A progenitor cells in the developing CNS. PMID: 7905511

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