Real-time measurement of dopamine fluctuations after cocaine in the brain of behaving rats

Michael L.A.V. Heien, Amina S. Khan, Jennifer L. Ariansen, Joseph F. Cheer, Paul E.M. Phillips, Kate M. Wassum, R. Mark Wightman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

294 Scopus citations


Dopamine neurotransmission has been implicated in the modulation of many cognitive processes. Both rapid (phasic) and slower (tonic) changes in its extracellular concentration contribute to its complex actions. Fast in vivo electrochemical techniques can measure extracellular dopamine on a rapid time scale but without the selectivity afforded with slower techniques that use chemical separations. Cyclic voltammetry improves chemical resolution over other electrochemical methods, and it can resolve dopamine changes in the brains of behaving rodents over short epochs (<10 s). With this method, however, selective detection of slower dopamine changes is still elusive. Here we demonstrate that principal component regression of cyclic voltammetry data enables quantification of changes in dopamine and extracellular pH. Using this method, we show that cocaine modifies dopamine release in two ways: dopamine concentration transients increase in frequency and magnitude, whereas a gradual increase in steady-state dopamine concentration occurs over 90 s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10023-10028
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 19 2005


  • Cyclic voltammetry
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Principal component regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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