Development of a novel purification protocol to isolate and identify brain microglia

Deanna Doughty, Surendra K. Rajpurohit, Amy Trang, Ahmet Alptekin, Ahmet K. Korkaya, Bhagelu Ram Achyut, Ali S. Arbab, Jennifer W. Bradford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Microglia, the tissue-resident macrophage of the central nervous system (CNS), play a paramount role in brain health and disease status. Here, we describe a novel method for enriching and isolating primary microglia from mouse brain tissue. This isolation method yields a high number of cells from either young or adult mice, and importantly, maintains the health and function of the cells for subsequent cell culture. We also describe flow cytometry methods using novel cell surface markers, including CX3CR1 and Siglec-H, to specifically label microglia while avoiding other bone marrow and/or non-CNS derived macrophages and monocytes, which has been historically difficult to achieve. As microglia are crucial in multiple aspects of biology, such as in normal brain development/function, immune response, neurodegeneration, and cancer, this isolation technique could greatly benefit a wide range of studies in human CNS biology, health, and disease mechanisms. Being able to isolate a largely pure population of microglia could also allow for a more comprehensive understanding of their functional dynamics and role in disease mechanisms, advancement of potential biomarkers, and development of novel therapeutic targets to improve prognosis and quality of life in multiple diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1433-1446
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Microglia
  • flow cytometry
  • primary cell culture
  • primary cell isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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