A review of flux considerations for in vivo neurochemical measurements
by Paul, David W.; Stenken, Julie A.
The mass transport or flux of neurochemicals in the brain and how this flux affects chemical measurements and their interpretation is reviewed. For all endogenous neurochemicals found in the brain, the flux of each of these neurochemicals exists between sources that produce them and the sites that consume them all within mu m distances. Principles of convective-diffusion are reviewed with a significant emphasis on the tortuous paths and discrete point sources and sinks. The fundamentals of the primary methods of detection, microelectrodes and microdialysis sampling of brain neurochemicals are included in the review. Special attention is paid to the change in the natural flux of the neurochemicals caused by implantation and consumption at microelectrodes and uptake by microdialysis. The detection of oxygen, nitric oxide, glucose, lactate, and glutamate, and catecholamines by both methods are examined and where possible the two techniques (electrochemical vs. microdialysis) are compared. Non-invasive imaging methods: magnetic resonance, isotopic fluorine MRI, electron paramagnetic resonance, and positron emission tomography are also used for different measurements of the above-mentioned solutes and these are briefly reviewed. Although more sophisticated, the imaging techniques are unable to track neurochemical flux on short time scales, and lack spatial resolution. Where possible, determinations of flux using imaging are compared to the more classical techniques of microdialysis and microelectrodes.