Replacement of glucose by sorbitol in growth medium causes selection of astroglial cells from heterogeneous primary cultures derived from newborn mouse brain

Brain Res. 1991 May 31;550(1):69-76. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(91)90406-l.


Primary cultures derived from the brains of newborn mice are quantitatively dominated by astroglial cells, but contain also oligodendroglial, phagocytic and ependymal cells. When confluent cultures are fed with glucose-free growth medium containing 25 mM sorbitol for 14 days, oligodendroglial, phagocytic and ependymal cells are eliminated from the culture, as judged by morphological and immunocytochemical criteria. The remaining cells stain positively for vimentin and glial fibrillary acidic protein and, therefore, can be considered as astroglial cells. Inoculation of freshly dissociated mouse brain cells in the absence of glucose in a sorbitol-containing medium is not possible; however, feeding of the cultures from day 2 on with sorbitol instead of glucose results in a pure astroglial culture at confluency. Therefore glucose-free growth medium supplemented with sorbitol can be considered a selective medium for astroglial cells in primary mouse glial cultures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Astrocytes / cytology*
  • Astrocytes / drug effects
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / analysis
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Myelin Basic Protein / analysis
  • Sorbitol / pharmacology*
  • Vimentin / analysis


  • Culture Media
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Myelin Basic Protein
  • Vimentin
  • Sorbitol
  • Glucose