As resident macrophages in the central nervous system, microglia actively control brain development and homeostasis, and their dysfunctions may drive human diseases. Considerable advances have been made to uncover the molecular signatures of homeostatic microglia as well as alterations of their gene expression in response to environmental stimuli. With the advent and maturation of single-cell genomic methodologies, it is increasingly recognized that heterogenous microglia may underlie the diverse roles they play in different developmental and pathological conditions. Further dissection of such heterogeneity can be achieved through efficient isolation of microglia from a given region of interest, followed by sensitive profiling of individual cells. Here, we provide a detailed protocol for the rapid isolation of microglia from different brain regions in a single adult mouse brain hemisphere. We also demonstrate how to use these sorted microglia for plate-based deep single-cell RNA sequencing. We discuss the adaptability of this method to other scenarios and provide guidelines for improving the system to accommodate large-scale studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere60347
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number154
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Brain region
  • Fluorescence-activated cell sorting
  • Heterogeneity
  • Isolation
  • Issue 154
  • Microglia
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Neuroscience
  • Single-cell RNA sequencing


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