Citations : Microelectrodes for the Measurement of Catecholamines in Biological Systems

Dated: Sep 15, 1996

Publication Name: American Chemical Society

Many of the molecules involved in biological signaling processes are easily oxidized and have been monitored by electrochemical methods. Temporal response, spatial considerations, and sensitivity of the electrodes must be optimized for the specific biological application. To monitor exocytosis from single cells in culture, constant potential amperometry offers the best temporal resolution, and a low-noise picoammeter improves the detection limits. Smaller electrodes, with 1-μm diameters, provided spatial resolution sufficient to identify the locations of release sites on the surface of single cells. For the study of neurotransmitter release in vivo, larger cylindrical microelectrodes are advantageous because the secreted molecules come from multiple terminals near the electrode, and the greater amounts lead to a larger signal that emerges from the Johnson noise of the current amplifier. With this approach, dopamine release elicited by two electrical stimulus pulses at 10 Hz was detected with fast-scan cyclic voltammetry in vivo. Nafion-coated elliptical electrodes have previously been shown to be incapable of detecting such concentration changes without extensive signal averaging. In addition, we demonstrate that high-pass filtering (200 Hz) of cyclic voltammograms recorded at 300 V/s decreases the background current and digitization noise at these microelectrodes, leading to an improved signal. Also, high-pass filtering discriminated against ascorbic acid, DOPAC, and acidic pH changes, three common interferences in vivo.

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Contributors: Paula S. Cahill, Q. David Walker, Jennifer M. Finnegan, George E. Mickelson, Eric R. Travis, and R. Mark Wightman