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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1992;70 Suppl:S314-22.

Quantitative analysis of extracellular space using the method of TMA+ iontophoresis and the issue of TMA+ uptake.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, New York University Medical Center, NY 10016.


The tetramethylammonium (TMA+) method for measuring the volume fraction and tortuosity of brain extracellular space is presented in detail. The temporal and spatial distribution of TMA+ in the extracellular space following iontophoresis or pressure microinjection is described by suitable equations and illustrated with graphs. By fitting the equations to the concentration versus time data obtained from measurements with ion-selective micropipettes, the volume fraction and tortuosity can be measured. In addition, the concentration-dependent uptake of TMA+ can be estimated from the given equations. The final section of the paper derives simple numerical estimates of TMA+ loss from the extracellular space by this mechanism.

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