Neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs) give rise to every type of neural cells, forming the most complex and functional organ of the body. In the mammalian embryonic central nervous system (CNS), NS/PCs are found in the basal forebrain, hippocampus, cerebral cortex, ganglionic eminence, cerebellum, neural crest, and spinal cord.
When performing studies with neural progenitor cells, it is often desirable to be able to distinguish specific subsets of these cells. During neural progenitor differentiation, the cells express various proteins. Some of these proteins are specifically related to certain phenotypes and are therefore used as identifiers i.e. markers. Markers as cell surface signatures would also permit the isolation of neural stem cells (NSC), glia and post-mitotic neurons from neural differentiation cultures of pluripotent stem cells. In a word, neural cell surface marker expression has been described for the isolation and identification of many neural cell types. In the following section, we will list some of the markers most commonly used to identify neural cells.
Sensory neurons are the kind of neurons which can get information and bring it into the CNS so it can be processed. That means outside stimuli activates sensory neurons and then your feeling is transformed by sensory neurons to your brain.
Motor neurons are concentrated in the ventral region and drive muscle contractions. The damage to motor neurons damage underlies amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy, leading to paralysis and early death.
Interneuron subtypes differ in morphology, intrinsic membrane properties, connectivity, and the efficacy and dynamics of input and output synapses, and these differences are associated with the expression of specific molecular markers.
Astrocytes are specialized glial cells that out-number neurons by over fivefold. They respond to all forms of CNS insults through a process referred to as reactive astrogliosis, which has become a pathological hallmark of CNS structural lesions.
Oligodendrocytes are the myelinating cells of CNS. They are the end product of a cell lineage which has to undergo proliferation, differentiation, and myelination to finally produce the insulating sheath of axons.
Ependymal cells are another type of neuroglia that forms the epithelial lining of the ventricles in the brain and the central canal of the spinal cord. Ependymal cells also give rise to the epithelial layer that surrounds the choroid plexus, a network of blood vessels located in the walls of the lateral ventricles.
Radial glia is specialized cells in the developing nervous system of all vertebrates and is characterized by long radial processes. These processes facilitate the best-known function of radial glia: guiding the radial migration of newborn neurons from the ventricular zone to the mantle regions.
Schwann cells (neurilemma cells), named after German physiologist Theodor Schwann, are any of the cells in the peripheral nervous system that produce the myelin sheath around neuronal axons. They are equivalent to a type of neuroglia called oligodendrocytes, which occur in the central nervous system.
Satellite cells are a heterogeneous population of stem and progenitor cells that are required for the growth, maintenance, and regeneration of skeletal muscle.
Beneath the intestinal epithelial cells lies a population of astrocyte-like cells that are known as enteric glial cells (EGCs).