Analysis of amino acids and catecholamines, 5-hydroxytryptamine and their metabolites in brain areas in the rat using in vivo microdialysis

Methods. 2001 Jan;23(1):11-20. doi: 10.1006/meth.2000.1102.


In vivo microdialysis, using dialysis probes inserted into discrete brain areas and subsequent analysis of neurotransmitters and related substances in the dialysates (usually with HPLC), has yielded a great deal of important information about the actions of psychotropic drugs and endogenous neurotransmitter systems and about the functional interactions between various brain areas. This paper reviews the principles involved in in vivo microdialysis, its advantages and disadvantages, and recent innovations in methodology and applications. The first section includes brief discussions of principles and applications of dialysis, use of anesthetized versus conscious freely moving animals, and methods used to determine the neural origin of neurotransmitters in the dialysate. The subsequent sections provide detailed descriptions, based largely on our own studies in rats, of stereotaxic surgery, in vivo microdialysis, and dialysate analysis, with an emphasis on amino acids and biogenic amines and their metabolites. A discussion of methodological problems which may be encountered in the analysis of amino acids and biogenic amines is also included.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Catecholamines / analysis
  • Catecholamines / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Microdialysis / methods*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Serotonin / analysis
  • Serotonin / metabolism*


  • Amino Acids
  • Catecholamines
  • Serotonin