Polymer modified carbon fiber microelectrodes for precision neurotransmitter metabolite measurements
Carbon fiber-microelectrodes (CFMEs) are considered to be one of the standard electrodes for neurotransmitter detection such as dopamine (DA). DA is physiologically important for many pharmacological and behavioral states, but is readily metabolized on a fast, subsecond timescale. Recently, DA metabolites such as 3-methoxytyramine (3-MT) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPAL) were found to be involved in physiological functions, such as movement control and progressive neuro degeneration. However, there is no current assay to detect and differentiate them from DA. In this study, we demonstrate the co-detection of similarly structured neurochemicals such as DA, 3-MT, and DOPAL. We accomplished this through electrodepositing CFMEs with polyethyleneimine (PEI) and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) polymers. This endowed the bare unmodified CFMEs with surface charge, physical, and chemical differences, which resulted in the improved sensitivity and selectivity of neurotransmitter detection. The differentiation and detection of 3-MT, DOPAL, and DA will potentially help further understand the important physiological roles that these dopaminergic metabolites play in vivo.