For over two decades, fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) has served as a reliable analytical method for monitoring dopamine release in near real-time in vivo. However, contemporary FSCV techniques have been limited to measure only rapid (on the order of seconds, i.e. phasic) changes in dopamine release evoked by either electrical stimulation or elicited by presentation of behaviorally salient stimuli, and not slower changes in the tonic extracellular levels of dopamine (i.e. basal concentrations). This is because FSCV is inherently a differential method that requires subtraction of prestimulation tonic levels of dopamine to measure phasic changes relative to a zeroed baseline. Here, we describe the development and application of a novel voltammetric technique, multiple cyclic square wave voltammetry (M-CSWV), for analytical quantification of tonic dopamine concentrations in vivo with relatively high temporal resolution (10 s). M-CSWV enriches the electrochemical information by generating two dimensional voltammograms which enable high sensitivity (limit of detection, 0.17 nM) and selectivity against ascorbic acid, and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), including changes in pH. Using M-CSWV, a tonic dopamine concentration of 120 ± 18 nM (n = 7 rats, ± SEM) was determined in the striatum of urethane anethetized rats. Pharmacological treatments to elevate dopamine by selectively inhibiting dopamine reuptake and to reduce DOPAC by inhibition of monoamine oxidase supported the selective detection of dopamine in vivo. Overall, M-CSWV offers a novel voltammetric technique to quantify levels and monitor changes in tonic dopamine concentrations in the brain to further our understanding of the role of dopamine in normal behavior and neuropsychiatric disorders.
- Carbon-fiber microelectrodes