Organic electrochemical transistor arrays for real-time mapping of evoked neurotransmitter release in vivo.

Abstract:

:Though neurotransmitters are essential elements in neuronal signal transduction, techniques for in vivo analysis are still limited. Here, we describe an organic electrochemical transistor array (OECT-array) technique for monitoring catecholamine neurotransmitters (CA-NTs) in rat brains. The OECT-array is an active sensor with intrinsic amplification capability, allowing real-time and direct readout of transient CA-NT release with a sensitivity of nanomolar range and a temporal resolution of several milliseconds. The device has a working voltage lower than half of that typically used in a prevalent cyclic voltammetry measurement, and operates continuously in vivo for hours without significant signal drift, which is inaccessible for existing methods. With the OECT-array, we demonstrate simultaneous mapping of evoked dopamine release at multiple striatal brain regions in different physiological scenarios, and reveal a complex cross-talk between the mesolimbic and the nigrostriatal pathways, which is heterogeneously affected by the reciprocal innervation between ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra pars compacta. :Cells in the nervous system pass messages using a combination of electrical and chemical signals. When an electrical impulse reaches the end of one cell, it triggers the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters, which pass the message along. Neurotransmitters can be either activating or inhibitory, determining whether the next cell fires its own electrical signal or remains silent. Currently, researchers lack effective methods for measuring neurotransmitters directly. Instead, methods mainly focus on electrical recordings, which can only tell when cells are active. One new approach is to use miniature devices called organic electrochemical transistors. Transistors are common circuit board components that can switch or amplify electrical signals. Organic electrochemical transistors combine these standard components with a semi-conductive material and a flexible membrane. When they interact with certain biological molecules, they release electrons, inducing a voltage. This allows organic electrochemical transistors to detect and measure neurotransmitter release. So far, the technology has been shown to work in tissue isolated from a brain, but no-one has used it to detect neurotransmitters inside a living brain. Xie, Wang et al. now present a new device that can detect the release of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, in real-time in living rats. The device is a miniature microarray of transistors fixed to a blade-shaped film. Xie, Wang et al. implanted this device into the brain of an anaesthetised rat and then stimulated nearby brain cells using an electrode. The device was able to detect the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, despite there being a range of chemicals released inside the brain. It was sensitive to tiny amounts of the neurotransmitter and could distinguish bursts that were only milliseconds apart. Finally, Xie, Wang et al. also implanted the array across two connected brain areas to show that it was possible to watch different brain regions at the same time. This is the first time that transistor arrays have measured neurotransmitter release in a living brain. The new device works at low voltage, so can track brain cell activity for hours, opening the way for brand new neuroscience experiments. In the future, adaptations could extend the technology even further. More sensors could give higher resolution results, different materials could detect different neurotransmitters, and larger arrays could map larger brain areas.

journal_name

Elife

journal_title

eLife

authors

Xie K,Wang N,Lin X,Wang Z,Zhao X,Fang P,Yue H,Kim J,Luo J,Cui S,Yan F,Shi P

doi

10.7554/eLife.50345

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2020-02-11 00:00:00

issn

2050-084X

pii

50345

journal_volume

9

pub_type

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