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J Neurochem. 2002 Apr;81(1):80-93.

Quantitative dual-probe microdialysis: evaluation of [3H]mannitol diffusion in agar and rat striatum.

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Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Dual-probe microdialysis was used to study interstitial diffusion in the rat brain. A radiolabelled tracer, (3H]mannitol, was continuously infused at different concentrations via a probe acutely implanted into the striatum of an anaesthetized male rat or into a dilute agar gel. Samples were collected by a second probe placed 1 mm away from the first, and the recovered [3H]mannitol was measured by liquid scintillation counting. In the striatum, the delivery of [3H]mannitol was counteracted by its removal from the extracellular space by passive uptake into cells and clearance into the microcirculation, causing the diffusion profile to approach quasi steady-state levels within 2 h. Diffusion data from brain and agar were analysed using a mathematical model. The apparent (effective) diffusion coefficient for [3H]mannitol was D* = 2.9 x 10(-6) cm2/s, the effective volume fraction alpha* = 0.30 and the clearance rate constant kappa= 2.3 x 10(-5)/s. A tortuosity, lambda = 1.81, and penetration distance r = 4.2 mm, were calculated. We conclude that, using dual-probe microdialysis, parameters reflecting geometric and dynamic tissue properties may be obtained using appropriate mathematical analysis. Quantitative dual-probe microdialysis will be valuable in characterizing interstitial diffusion and the clearance processes underpinning volume transmission in the brain.

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