Using Enzyme-based Biosensors to Measure Tonic and Phasic Glutamate in Alzheimer's Mouse Models

J Vis Exp. 2017 May 3;(123):55418. doi: 10.3791/55418.


Neurotransmitter disruption is often a key component of diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), playing a role in the pathology underlying Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, depression, and anxiety. Traditionally, microdialysis has been the most common (lauded) technique to examine neurotransmitter changes that occur in these disorders. But because microdialysis has the ability to measure slow 1-20 minute changes across large areas of tissue, it has the disadvantage of invasiveness, potentially destroying intrinsic connections within the brain and a slow sampling capability. A relatively newer technique, the microelectrode array (MEA), has numerous advantages for measuring specific neurotransmitter changes within discrete brain regions as they occur, making for a spatially and temporally precise approach. In addition, using MEAs is minimally invasive, allowing for measurement of neurotransmitter alterations in vivo. In our laboratory, we have been specifically interested in changes in the neurotransmitter, glutamate, related to Alzheimer's disease pathology. As such, the method described here has been used to assess potential hippocampal disruptions in glutamate in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Briefly, the method used involves coating a multi-site microelectrode with an enzyme very selective for the neurotransmitter of interest and using self-referencing sites to subtract out background noise and interferents. After plating and calibration, the MEA can be constructed with a micropipette and lowered into the brain region of interest using a stereotaxic device. Here, the method described involves anesthetizing rTg(TauP301L)4510 mice and using a stereotaxic device to precisely target sub-regions (DG, CA1, and CA3) of the hippocampus.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Calibration
  • Electrodes
  • Enzymes, Immobilized / chemistry*
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microelectrodes
  • Phenylenediamines
  • Stereotaxic Techniques


  • Enzymes, Immobilized
  • Phenylenediamines
  • Glutamic Acid