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Clin Chem. 2003 Oct;49(10):1763-73.

Detecting subsecond dopamine release with fast-scan cyclic voltammetry in vivo.

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Department of Chemistry, Neuroscience Center, and. Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3290, USA.



Dopamine is a potent neuromodulator in the brain, influencing a variety of motivated behaviors and involved in several neurologic diseases. Measurements of extracellular dopamine in the brains of experimental animals have traditionally focused on a tonic timescale (minutes to hours). However, dopamine concentrations are now known to fluctuate on a phasic timescale (subseconds to seconds).


Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry provides analytical chemical measurements of phasic dopamine signals in the rat brain.


Procedural aspects of the technique are discussed, with regard to appropriate use and in comparison with other methods. Finally, examples of data collected using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry are summarized, including naturally occurring dopamine transients and signals arising from electrical stimulation of dopamine neurons.


Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry offers real-time measurements of changes in extracellular dopamine concentrations in vivo. With its subsecond time resolution, micrometer-dimension spatial resolution, and chemical selectivity, it is the most suitable technique currently available to measure transient concentration changes of dopamine.

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