Chronic second-by-second measures of L-glutamate in the central nervous system of freely moving rats

Erin C. Rutherford, Francois Pomerleau, Peter Huettl, Ingrid Strömberg, Greg A. Gerhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


L-glutamate (Glu) is the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS) and is associated with motor behavior and sensory perception. While microdialysis methods have been used to record tonic levels of Glu, little is known about the more rapid changes in Glu signals that may be observed in awake rats. We have reported acute recording methods using enzyme-based microelectrode arrays (MEA) with fast response time and low detection levels of Glu in anesthetized animals with minimal interference. The current paper concerns modification of the MEA design to allow for reliable measures in the brain of conscious rats. In this study, we characterized the effects of chronic implantation of the MEA into the brains of rats. We were capable of measuring Glu levels for 7 days without loss of sensitivity. We performed studies of tail-pinch induced stress, which caused a robust biphasic increase in Glu. Histological data show chronic implantation of the MEAs caused minimal injury to the CNS. Taken together, our data show that chronic recordings of tonic and phasic Glu can be carried out in awake rats for up to 17 days in vivo allowing longer term studies of Glu regulation in behaving rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-722
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Amperometry
  • Chronic recordings
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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