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J Electroanal Chem (Lausanne). 2013 Mar 15;693:28-33. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Microfabricated Microelectrode Sensor for Measuring Background and Slowly Changing Dopamine Concentrations.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.


The electrochemical detection of neurotransmitters in vivo has centered on fast scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) due to its temporal resolution, sensitivity and chemical selectivity. FSCV is a differential technique that records phasic (second-to-second) changes in the concentration of electroactive neurotransmitters such as dopamine (DA). To isolate the currents due to fluctuations in analyte concentration, in other words to make these phasic measurements, requires the subtraction of a large background current. The subtraction of this background and its volatility renders FSCV unable to determine background or slowly varying concentrations of electroactive analytes. However, there is still a need to readily determine the background and slowly changing concentrations of electroactive analytes in tissue. For example, the background concentrations of DA vary throughout the brain and can affect the dynamics of dopaminergic systems. So, this report presents a microfabricated electrochemical sensor for measuring background and slowly changing concentrations of DA in vitro with the selectivity and sensitivity of FSCV. The sensor is comprised of two microfabricated microelectrodes which are spaced 8 μm apart. Varying the applied potential of the outer electrode manipulates the local concentration of electroactive species including concentration at the inner electrode. These changes are measured at the inner electrode using FSCV. The resulting signal with calibration can determine the background and slowly changing concentration of DA with the selectivity and sensitivity of FSCV. In this study the background of DA is determined in vitro using this sensor. The DA signal is shown to be the result of adsorption/desorption at the outer electrode. Interference from ascorbate on the DA signal is shown to be minimal for this approach.

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