Isolation of Pure Astrocytes and Microglia from the Adult Mouse Spinal Cord For In Vitro Assays and Transcriptomic Studies

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE






Astrocytes and microglia play pivotal roles in central nervous system development, injury responses, and neurodegenerative diseases. These highly dynamic cells exhibit rapid responses to environmental changes and display significant heterogeneity in terms of morphology, transcriptional profiles, and functions. While our understanding of the functions of glial cells in health and disease has advanced substantially, there remains a need for in vitro, cell-specific analyses conducted in the context of insults or injuries to comprehensively characterize distinct cell populations. Isolating cells from the adult mouse offers several advantages over cell lines or neonatal animals, as it allows for the analysis of cells under pathological conditions and at specific time points. Furthermore, focusing on spinal cord-specific isolation, excluding brain involvement, enables research into spinal cord pathologies, including experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, spinal cord injury, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This protocol presents an efficient method for isolating astrocytes and microglia from the adult mouse spinal cord, facilitating immediate or future analysis with potential applications in functional, molecular, or proteomic downstream studies.


Anatomy and Regenerative Biology