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Issue 1, 2009
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Carbon-fiber microelectrodes for in vivo applications

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Carbon-fiber microelectrodes (CFMEs) have been a useful tool for measuring rapid changes in neurotransmitters because of their small size, sensitivity, and good electrochemical properties. In this article, we highlight recent advances using CFMEs for measuring neurotransmitters in vivo. Dopamine has been a primary neurotransmitter of interest but direct electrochemical detection of other neurochemicals including nitric oxide and adenosine has also been investigated. Surface treatments have been studied to enhance electrode sensitivity, such as covalent modification or the addition of a layer of carbon nanotubes. Enzyme-modified microelectrodes that detect non-electroactive compounds further extend the usefulness of CFMEs beyond the traditional monoamines. CFMEs continue to be used in vivo to understand basic neurobiological mechanisms and the actions of pharmacological agents, including drugs of abuse. Advances in sensitivity and instrumentation now allow CFMEs to be used for measurements of natural dopamine release that occur during behavioral experiments. A new technique combining electrochemistry with electrophysiology at a single microelectrode facilitates a better understanding of neurotransmitter concentrations and their effects on cell firing. Future research in this field will likely concentrate on fabricating smaller electrodes and electrode arrays, as well as expanding the use of CFMEs in neuroscience beyond dopamine.

Graphical abstract: Carbon-fiber microelectrodes for in vivo applications

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Publication details

The article was first published on 31 Oct 2008

Article type: Minireview
DOI: 10.1039/B807563H
Citation: Analyst, 2009,134, 18-24
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    Carbon-fiber microelectrodes for in vivo applications

    M. L. Huffman and B. J. Venton, Analyst, 2009, 134, 18
    DOI: 10.1039/B807563H

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