Measuring in Vivo changes in extracellular neurotransmitters during naturally rewarding behaviors in female syrian hamsters

Kelsey M. Moore, Brett T. Himmler, Benjamin A. Teplitzky, Matthew D Johnson, Robert L Meisel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The ability to measure neurotransmitter release on a rapid time scale allows patterns of neurotransmission to be linked to specific behaviors or manipulations; a powerful tool in elucidating underlying mechanisms and circuitry. While the technique of microdialysis has been used for decades to measure nearly any analyte of interest in the brain, this technique is limited in temporal resolution. Alternatively, fast scan cyclic voltammetry is both temporally precise and extremely sensitive; however, because this technically difficult method relies on the electroactivity of the analyte of interest, the possibility to detect nonelectroactive substances (e.g., the neurotransmitter glutamate) is eliminated. This paper details the use of a turn-key system that combines fixed-potential amperometry and enzymatic biosensing to measure both electroactive and nonelectroactive neurotransmitters with temporal precision. The pairing of these two powerful techniques allows for the measurement of both tonic and phasic neurotransmission with relative ease, and permits recording of multiple neurotransmitters simultaneously. The aim of this manuscript is to demonstrate the process of measuring dopamine and glutamate neurotransmission in vivo using a naturally rewarding behavior (i.e., sexual behavior) in female hamsters, with the ultimate goal of displaying the technical feasibility of this assay for examining other behaviors and experimental paradigms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere56135
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number127
StatePublished - Sep 12 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank undergraduate Daniel Korus for his help running the Matlab code and undergraduate Alex Boettcher for his assistance in running the behavioral experiments. This project is supported by NSF IOS 1256799 to R.L.M., and by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number T32DA007234.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Journal of Visualized Experiments.


  • Dopamine
  • Enzymatic biosensor
  • Female sexual behavior
  • Fixed-potential amperometry
  • Glutamate
  • Issue 127
  • Male copulatory behavior
  • Neurobiology
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Reward
  • Syrian hamsters


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