Estimating extracellular concentrations of dopamine and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid in nucleus accumbens and striatum using microdialysis: relationships between in vitro and in vivo recoveries

J Neurochem. 1994 May;62(5):2017-21. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.1994.62052017.x.


It is common practice in microdialysis studies for probes to be "calibrated" in artificial CSF and in vitro recoveries determined for all substances to be measured in vivo. Dialysate concentrations of such substances are then "corrected" for in vitro recoveries to provide "estimates" of extracellular concentrations. At least for dopamine, in vitro and in vivo recoveries are significantly different and, therefore, an estimate of extracellular dopamine based on correction for in vitro recovery is likely to be erroneous. Generally, however, the relative relationships of such estimates among animals are of interest rather than the "true" extracellular values. Such relationships would be valid to the extent that estimated values are correlated with or predictive of true values. Using the "no net flux" procedure, the present study sought to determine, for both dopamine and its metabolite 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), whether in vitro and in vivo recoveries would correlate with each other as well as whether respective estimated and true (no net flux) values of these substances would correlate with each other. Probes (3 mm; BAS/CMed MF-5393), previously calibrated, were lowered into both the nucleus accumbens and striatum of freely moving rats the day before sample collection was begun. In vitro and in vivo recoveries were not significantly correlated (r = 0.1-0.3), for either dopamine or DOPAC. For both dopamine and DOPAC, however, there were significant correlations (r = 0.7-0.8) between estimated and true values. Surprisingly, when using these commercial probes, absolute dialysate levels for both substances were even better correlated (r = 0.9-0.95) with true values.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid / analysis
  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / analysis
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Microdialysis / methods
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid
  • Dopamine