Isolation and analysis of mouse microglial cells

Curr Protoc Immunol. 2014 Feb 4:104:14.35.1-14.35.15. doi: 10.1002/0471142735.im1435s104.


Microglia are mononuclear phagocytes that make up about 10% of the central nervous system (CNS). They are known for their surveillant behavior, which involves continuous monitoring of neural tissue by extending and retracting their processes. Microglial cells are derived from myeloid progenitor cells and play important roles in homeostasis as well as inflammatory and immune responses in the brain. This unit describes several microglial cell isolation protocols that can be easily adapted for projects requiring a rapid and efficient analysis of mouse microglial cells by flow cytometry. Methods for visualizing microglial cells using in situ immunohistochemistry and immunochemistry in free-floating sections are also included.

Keywords: CNS; CX3CR1/GFP; Percoll gradients; flow cytometry; histochemistry; immunostaining; microglia; microglial isolation; mononuclear cells; myeloid cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Homeostasis
  • Immunity
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microglia / cytology*
  • Myeloid Progenitor Cells / cytology*