Platform to Enable Combined Measurement of Dopamine and Neural Activity

Complex behaviors depend on the coordination of the activities of ensembles of neurons and the release of neuromodulators such as dopamine. The mechanisms underlying such coordination are not well-understood due to a lack of instrumentation for combined and real-time monitoring of neuromodulator release and the activities of large ensembles of neurons. Here we describe a measurement platform that allows for the combined monitoring of electrophysiology from a high-density electrode array and dopamine dynamics from a carbon-fiber microelectrode. Integration of these two measurement systems was achieved through modification of the existing instrumentation. A shared grounded reference electrode was used in both systems to minimize electrical interference. Further, an optional solid-state-relay array positioned between the electrophysiological electrode array and amplifiers was added to provide additional electrical isolation. The capacity of the integrated measurement platform, termed DANA (Dopamine And Neural Activity), to measure action potentials (high frequency) and local-field oscillations (low frequency) was characterized <i>in vitro</i> using an artificial cerebral spinal fluid gelatin. <i>In vivo</i> recordings from the DANA platform in anesthetized rats demonstrated the ability of the system for near-simultaneous measurement of dopamine release and activity from multiple neurons both in distant brain regions (striatum and hippocampus) and within the same brain region (striatum). Furthermore, this system was shown to be sufficiently compact to measure activity in freely moving animals through recording of single-neuron activity, high-frequency local-field oscillations, and dopamine release.