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Examining the Effects of Common Laboratory Methods on the Sensitivity of Carbon Fiber Electrodes in Amperometric Recordings of Dopamine

DOI: 10.4236/jbbs.2018.83007, PP. 117-125

Keywords: Fixed Potential Amperometry, Carbon Fiber Electrode, Dopamine, Flow Injection System, Electrode Calibration

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Carbon fiber microelectrodes (CFEs) are useful when combined with electrochemical techniques for measuring changes in neurotransmitter concentrations. We addressed conflicting details regarding the use of CFEs. Experimental groups consisted of CFEs at different ages (1 week, 1 month, or 2 months), cleaned in solvents (isopropanol or xylene), and exposed to in vitro use (flow cell calibrations) or in vivo use (in brain tissue). In order to determine if any of these factors affect CFE sensitivity, the present study utilized fixed potential amperometry and a flow injection system to calibrate CFEs for the measurement of dopamine. The sensitivity index (nA/μM per 100 μm of exposed carbon fiber) was not affected by the age of CFEs or pre-cleaning with xylene or isopropanol. CFE sensitivity of the in vitro exposure group also did not differ from untreated CFEs, indicating the calibration process did not alter sensitivity. However, in vivo use in brain tissue did reduce sensitivity. This effect was negated and sensitivity restored by cleaning CFEs in isopropanol or xylene following in vivo brain recordings. Given that variations in CFE sensitivity can skew results, our findings can help standardize CFE use and explain discrepancies between researchers.


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