Published online Mar 9, 2014. doi: 10.5497/wjp.v3.i1.1
Revised: March 3, 2014
Accepted: March 6, 2014
Published online: March 9, 2014
Implantable electrochemical microsensors are characterized by high sensitivity, while amperometric biosensors are very selective in virtue of the biological detecting element. Each sensor, specific for every neurochemical species, is a miniaturized high-technology device resulting from the combination of several factors: electrode material, shielding polymers, applied electrochemical technique, and in the case of biosensors, biological sensing material, stabilizers, and entrapping chemical nets. In this paper, we summarize the available technology for the in vivo electrochemical monitoring of neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and glutamate), bioenergetic substrates (glucose, lactate, and oxygen), neuromodulators (ascorbic acid and nitric oxide), and exogenous molecules such as ethanol. We also describe the most represented biotelemetric technologies in order to wirelessly transmit the signals of the above-listed neurochemicals. Implantable (Bio)sensors, integrated into miniaturized telemetry systems, represent a new generation of analytical tools that could be used for studying the brain’s physiology and pathophysiology and the effects of different drugs (or toxic chemicals such as ethanol) on neurochemical systems.
Core tip: Electrochemical microsensors and amperometric biosensors arouse enormous scientific interest because of their low-cost technology and because they guarantee real-time monitoring of changes of the most important brain compounds. In conjunction with miniaturized telemetric devices, the electrochemical sensors, allow the neurochemical monitoring of extracellular space of discrete brain regions in awake, untethered animals for days or weeks. This new scientific approach opens new frontiers for studying the physiological and physiopathological pathways in wild-type animals and in genetic models of the most widespread neurodegenerative diseases.