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Anal Chem. 2006 Apr 15;78(8):2521-5.

On-chip amperometric measurement of quantal catecholamine release using transparent indium tin oxide electrodes.

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Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, Department of Biological Engineering, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA.


Carbon-fiber amperometry has been extensively used to monitor the time course of catecholamine release from cells as individual secretory granules discharge their contents during the process of quantal exocytosis, but microfabricated devices offer the promise of higher throughput. Here we report development of a microchip device that uses transparent indium tin oxide (ITO) electrodes to measure quantal exocytosis from cells in microfluidic channels. ITO films on a glass substrate were patterned as 20-mum-wide stripes using photolithography and wet etching and then coated with polylysine to facilitate cell adherence. Microfluidic channels (100 mum wide by 100 mum deep) were formed by molding poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) on photoresist and then reversibly sealing the PDMS slab to the ITO-glass substrate. Bovine adrenal chromaffin cells were loaded into the microfluidic channel and adhered to the ITO electrodes. Cells were stimulated to secrete by perfusing a depolarizing "high-K" solution while monitoring oxidation of catecholamines on the ITO electrode beneath the cell using amperometry. Amperometric spikes with charges ranging from 0.1 to 1.5 pC were recorded with a signal-to-noise ratio comparable to that of carbon-fiber electrodes. Further development of this approach will enable high-throughput measurement of quantal catecholamine release simultaneously with optical cell measurements such as fluorescence.

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