Neuronal Markers




Neurons (also known as neurones, nerve cells and nerve fibers) are electrically excitable cells in the nervous system that function to process and transmit information. In vertebrate animals, neurons are the core components of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

Neurons are typically composed of a soma, or cell body, a dendritic tree and an axon. The majority of vertebrate neurons receive input on the cell body and dendritic tree, and transmit output via the axon. However, there is great heterogeneity throughout the nervous system and the animal kingdom, in the size, shape and function of neurons.




  • recognizes a novel epitope that is present on progenitor cells and postmitotic, differentiating neurons in the developing mammalian nervous system. PMID: 10657707

ABCA2 (ATP-binding cassette transporter-A2)

  • a marker of neural progenitors as it is expressed in the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricle and the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation, sites of continual neurogenesis in the adult brain, and in nestin(+) cells differentiated in vitro from embryonic stem cells. PMID: 16539677



  • may be an early indicator of naturally occurring neuronal death. PMID: 2720388

ATF3 (Activating transcription factor 3)

  • induction by axotomy in sensory and motoneurons: A novel neuronal marker of nerve injury. PMID: 10673325


  • a marker of neuronal immaturity in postnatal primate brain. PMID: 9502809


  • an early marker of proliferating precursor cells that will differentiate into the neuronal lineage. PMID: 15548196

Calbindin D28

  • a useful marker for defining a neuronal subpopulation in neuron-rich primary cultures. PMID: 2914206



  • there are seven classes of beta-tubulin genes, one of which, class III, is neuron specific. PMID: 8788246

  • expression of the class III beta-tubulin isotype by medulloepithelial rosettes suggests that this isotype may be one of the earliest markers to signal neuronal commitment in primitive neuroepithelium. PMID: 2467076


  • a metabolic marker for tracing neuroanatomical connections, seizure pathways and sites of action of neuroactive drugs. PMID: 2507830

  • a marker for neuronal activity throughout the neuraxis following peripheral stimulation. PMID: 2113539

Calbindin D28K

  • a useful marker for defining a neuronal subpopulation in neuron-rich primary cultures. PMID: 2914206



  • a marker of specific neuronal subsets in primate substantia nigra and subthalamic nucleus. PMID: 8720880


ChAT (choline acetyltransferase)


  • a potential neuronal marker, in an advanced stage of a neurodegenerative process. PMID: 4047345

Cytochrome oxidase



  • may have a role in neural stem cell development and is a marker of axonal sprouting in mid stages of embryonic development. PMID: 12149647

Fluoro-Jade B

  • a high affinity fluorescent marker for the localization of neuronal degeneration. PMID: 10960596


  • labels nerve terminals in an activity-dependent fashion and has been found increasingly useful in exploring the exo- and endocytosis of synaptic vesicles and other cells by fluorescence methods. PMID: 9858712

HSV-1 (Herpes simplex virus type 1)

  • used as a vector for gene delivery and for tracing neuronal connections. PMID: 11040085

MAG (myelin-associated glycoprotein)

  • may be used in the chick embryo as an early marker of primary sensory neurons of class B. PMID: 2423198


  • a marker of neuronal differentiation as a neuron-specific protein that stabilizes microtubules in the dendrites of postmitotic neurons. PMID: 15920168

  • essential for development of early neuronal morphology and maintenance of adult neuronal morphology, is widely used as a neuronal marker. PMID: 8537643

  • appears early in neuronal maturation of the neocortex, particularly in the subplate region. PMID: 7566447


  • a mitochondrial marker for terminal neuronal differentiation defined by a monoclonal antibody. PMID: 7060130

NAA (N-Acetylaspartate)



  • an intermediate filament protein expressed by neural progenitor cells. PMID: 12786777

NeuN (neuronal nuclei)

  • a 46/48-kD nuclear protein antigen (phosphoprotein) used widely in research and diagnostics to identify postmitotic neurons. PMID: 15605376, PMID: 12868073

  • a neuron-specific protein which is present in most neuronal cell types of vertebrates. PMID: 8813082

  • a marker of neuronal maturation in early human fetal nervous system. PMID: 9545178

  • the 46- and the 48-kDa NeuN isoforms can be localized to the cell nucleus as well as in the neuronal cytoplasm. Their relative concentration in these compartments is distinct, however, with the 48-kDa isoform being the predominant isoform in the cytoplasm. Within the nucleus, NeuN is found preferentially in areas of low chromatin density and virtually excluded from areas containing densely packed DNA. PMID: 15605376

  • NeuN expression per se is a reliable marker of proliferative capacity, levels of NeuN expression may also be indicative of the physiological status of a postmitotic neuron. PMID: 12868073


  • a specific marker to define areal patterns and topographic boundaries in the cat visual system. PMID: 11745654

  • Neurofilament high molecular weight-green fluorescent protein fusion is normally expressed in neurons and transported in axons: a neuronal marker to investigate the biology of neurofilaments. PMID: 16289584

Non-angiotensin II [(125)I] CGP42112

  • a marker for quantitating inflammatory events which occur as a result of damage to the CNS. PMID: 15283972

NSE (neuron specific enolase)

  • a common marker for both endocrine cells and enteric nerves. PMID: 7106520

  • a marker of in vitro neuronal damage. PMID: 8490309, PMID: 8490308

  • CSF neuron-specific enolase may be useful as a quantitative marker of ischaemic damage in humans and provide a useful adjunct in the assessment of neuroprotective drugs in stroke. PMID: 1606499

  • CSF-NSE have a potential as a non-disease specific marker for the neuronal degeneration in dementia disorders. PMID: 7748462

  • a marker of brain metastasis in patients with small-cell lung carcinoma. PMID: 7964990

  • a marker of cerebral ischemia and infarct size in rat cerebrospinal fluid. PMID: 3413812

  • a glycolytic enzyme widely distributed in each mammalian tissue and consists of three distinct subunits alpha, beta, and gamma. PMID: 6349546

  • serve as a biochemical marker for neuroblastoma and be useful in the differential diagnosis of neuroblastoma and Wilms' tumor. PMID: 6288908, PMID: 6314696

NSP-C (Neuroendocrine-specific protein C)

  • a marker of neuronal differentiation, is reduced in brain of patients with Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. PMID: 11006125

OMP (olfactory marker protein)

  • a neuron-specific protein. PMID: 3753006

  • expressed in mature chemosensory neurons in the nasal neuroepithelium and in the anterior/dorsal region of the nasal cavity. PMID: 16273384

Pax6, Tbr2, and Tbr1

  • expressed sequentially by radial glia, intermediate progenitor cells, and postmitotic neurons in developing neocortex. PMID: 15634788

PI (Propidium iodide)

  • an early marker of neuronal damage in rat hippocampus. PMID: 7700583

PGP9.5 (neuronal marker protein gene product 9.5)

  • a pan-neuronal marker. PMID: 15049988

  • selectively labels nerve fibers and neuroendocrine (APUD) cells also in human gingival. PMID: 2571921

  • a cytoplasmic protein in neurons and neuroendocrine cells, was found to visualize both different populations and subtypes of nerves. PMID: 2976412, PMID: 2856932

PKC (Protein kinase C)

  • as an early and sensitive marker of ischemia-induced progressive neuronal damage in gerbil hippocampus. PMID: 8297417


  • expressed in virtually all pyramidal neurons and spiny stellate neurons of neocortical areas 4, 3b, 1, 2, 5, 7, and SII, but not in the majority of cortical interneurons. PMID: 16304627


  • a neuronal epitope abundantly expressed in youth and an early marker of tau pathology. PMID: 12536218


  • might become powerful markers for apoptotic neurons in various neurological or neurodegenerative conditions in vivo. PMID: 10825575


  • a specific marker for the spinal sensory neuron lineage in the quail embryo and in neural crest cell cultures. PMID: 2568298

Synapsin I

  • a biochemical marker for neuronal damage by trimethyltin. PMID: 3918766


TGF-beta (transforming growth factor-beta)