In vivo ambient serotonin measurements at carbon-fiber microelectrodes

Aya Abdalla, Christopher Atcherley, Pavithra Pathirathna, Srimal Samaranayake, Beidi Qiang, Edsel Peña, Stephen Morgan, Michael Heien, Parastoo Hashemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanisms that control extracellular serotonin levels in vivo are not well-defined. This shortcoming makes it very challenging to diagnose and treat the many psychiatric disorders in which serotonin is implicated. Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) can measure rapid serotonin release and reuptake events but cannot report critically important ambient serotonin levels. In this Article, we use fast-scan controlled adsorption voltammetry (FSCAV), to measure serotonin’s steady-state, extracellular chemistry. We characterize the “Jackson” voltammetric waveform for FSCAV and show highly stable, selective, and sensitive ambient serotonin measurements in vitro. In vivo, we report basal serotonin levels in the CA2 region of the hippocampus as 64.9 ± 2.3 nM (n= 15 mice, weighted average ± standard error). We electrochemically and pharmacologically verify the selectivity of the serotonin signal. Finally, we develop a statistical model that incorporates the uncertainty in in vivo measurements, in addition to electrode variability, to more critically analyze the time course of pharmacological data. Our novel method is a uniquely powerful analysis tool that can provide deeper insights into the mechanisms that control serotonin’s extracellular levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9703-9711
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2017


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