The meninges remain an unexplored area of neurobiology. These structures play host to dozens of morbid pathologies. This protocol provides a reliable way to identify and isolate pial cells from mice using robust markers of pial identity in mouse and human tissues. We describe a protocol for the extraction of pia mater cells from mice and their culture as primary cells in vitro. Using an array of transcriptomic, histological, and flow cytometric analyses, we identified Icam1 and Slc38a2 as two novel pia mater markers in vitro and in vivo. Our results confirm the fibroblastoid nature of pial cells and their ability to form a sheet-like layer that covers the brain parenchyma. To our knowledge, this is the first published protocol for the isolation, tissue culture, and marker identification of pial cells from mice. These findings will enable researchers in CNS barriers to describe pial cell functions in both health and disease.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience