Heterogeneity and Molecular Markers for CNS Glial Cells Revealed by Single-Cell Transcriptomics

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2022 Nov;42(8):2629-2642. doi: 10.1007/s10571-021-01159-3. Epub 2021 Oct 26.


Glial cells, including astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia, are the major components in the central nervous system (CNS). Studies have revealed the heterogeneity of each glial cell type and that they each may play distinct roles in physiological processes and/or neurological diseases. Single-cell sequencing (scRNA-seq) technology developed in recent years has extended our understanding of glial cell heterogeneity from the perspective of transcriptome profiling. This review summarizes the marker genes of major glial cells in the CNS and reveals their heterogeneity in different species, CNS regions, developmental stages, and pathological states (Alzheimer's disease and spinal cord injury), expanding our knowledge of glial cell heterogeneity on both molecular and functional levels.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Astrocyte; Glial cell; Marker gene; Microglia; Oligodendrocyte; ScRNA-seq; Spatial and temporal specific; Spinal cord injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System
  • Neuroglia* / metabolism
  • Oligodendroglia / metabolism
  • Transcriptome* / genetics