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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Advancing Nuerochemical monitoring

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Advancing neurochemical monitoring

Paul A Garris

Two new approaches to neurochemical monitorinign vivo—an
improved real-time microsensor and genetically engineered cells that
sense neurotransmitter levels—address the critical issue of brain
reactivity to implanted devices. Identifying the neural basis of behavior
is a core focus of neuroscience. One prominent methodology in this pursuit
is monitoring the neurotransmitters that underlie communication between neurons. Although technical improvements have advanced neurochemical measu-rements to the real-time domain, one critical limitation of present methods is the highly invasive nature of implanting a recording device and the subsequent re-action of brain tissue. Neuroin_ammation not only alters the sampled microenvironment, but also results in a dilusion barrier that encapsulates the probe and therefore restricts access to released ne-u
rotransmitters. Taking radically different strategies, two new approaches address this key hurdle for achieving the longstanding goal of chronic, real-time neurochemical monitoring. In this issue of Nature Methods, Clark et al.1 describe a microelectrode that retains the capability for subsecond dopamine measurementins vivo for months. In Nature Neuroscience ,Nguyen et al.2 report implantable genet-ically engineered cells for electrode-free
acetylcholine sensing.