Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) is a common analytical electrochemistry tool used to measure chemical species. It has recently been adapted for measurement of neurotransmitters such as dopamine in awake and behaving animals (in vivo). Electrode calibration is an essential step in FSCV to relate observed current to concentration of a chemical species. However, existing methods require multiple components, which reduce the ease of calibrations. To this end, a microfluidic flow cell (μFC) was developed as a simple device to switch between buffer and buffer with a known concentration of the analyte of interest – in this case dopamine – in a microfluidic Y-channel. The ability to quickly switch solutions yielded electrode calibrations with faster rise times and that were more stable at peak current values. The μFC reduced the number of external electrical components and produced linear calibrations over a range of concentrations. To demonstrate this, an electrode calibrated with the μFC was used in FSCV recordings from a rat during the delivery of food reward – a stimulus that reliably evokes a brief increase in current due to the oxidation of dopamine. Using the linear calibration, dopamine concentrations were determined from the current responses evoked during the behavioral task. The μFC is able to easily and quickly calibrate FSCV electrode responses to chemical species for both in vitro and in vivo experiments.
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