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J Neurosci Methods. 1999 Mar 1;87(2):201-8.

Utility of a tripolar stimulating electrode for eliciting dopamine release in the rat striatum.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Cellular and Integrative Physiology Section, Illinois State University, Normal, USA


The present study evaluated tripolar stimulating electrodes for eliciting dopamine release in the rat brain in vivo. Stimulating electrodes were placed either in the medial forebrain bundle or in the ventral mesencephalon associated with the ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra. The concentration of extracellular dopamine was monitored in dopamine terminal fields at 100-ms intervals using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry at carbon-fiber microelectrodes. To characterize the stimulated area, recordings were collected in several striatal regions including the caudate putamen and the core and shell of the nucleus accumbens. The tripolar electrode was equally effective in stimulating dopamine release in medial and lateral regions of the striatum. In contrast, responses evoked by a bipolar electrode were typically greater in one mediolateral edge versus the other. The added size of the tripolar electrode did not appear to cause complications as signals were stable over the course of the experiment (3 h). Subsets of mesostriatal dopamine neurons could also be selectively activated using the tripolar electrode in excellent agreement with previously described topography. Taken together, these results suggested that the tripolar stimulating electrode is well suited for studying the regulation of midbrain dopamine neurons in vivo.

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