Glial cells play an important role in the maintenance of normal nervous system physiology. Glial cells include microglia, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Microglia are the resident phagocytes in the CNS, and actively survey their surrounding domain to quickly respond to an immune threat. As a consequence, these cells change shape to become amoeboid-like and become phagocytic to remove the encountered threat. Astrocytes are the most abundant glial cell type residing in the brain. They have many important functions, some of which include neurotransmitter uptake and release, and modulation of synaptic transmission. Astrocytes, like microglia, are highly sensitive to alterations in their microenvironment, and alter their morphology and gene expression profile to upregulate expression and secretion of a variety of bioactive molecules, such as cytokines and chemokines, in response to CNS injury. Oligodendrocytes (ODs) produce myelin sheath to allow for the insulation of segments of neuronal axons. This enables high velocity signal transduction, which is essential for the propagation of action potentials along the axon. ODs also contribute to neuroplasticity and provide trophic support to neurons.
The Glial Cell Marker Antibody Sampler Kit provides a great combination of antibodies to detect microglia, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes.