Solid Phase Microextraction-Based Miniaturized Probe and Protocol for Extraction of Neurotransmitters from Brains in Vivo

Lendor, Sofia
Hassani, Seyed-Alireza
Boyacı, Ezel
Singh, Varoon
Womelsdorf, Thilo
Pawliszyn, Janusz
Despite the importance of monitoring and correlating neurotransmitter concentrations in the brain with observable behavior and brain areas in which they act, in vivo measurement of multiple neurochemicals in the brain remains a challenge. Here, we propose an alternative solid phase microextraction-based (SPME) chemical biopsy approach as a viable method for acquirement of quantitative information on multiple neurotransmitters by one device within a single sampling event, with multisite measurement capabilities and minimized invasiveness, as no tissue is removed. The miniaturized SPME probe developed for integrated in vivo sampling/sample preparation has been thoroughly optimized with respect to probe shape, desorption solvent, and extracting phase tailored for extraction of small hydrophilic molecules via synthesis and functionalization of coating. Experimental evaluations of sampling time and storage strategy led to achieving appropriate temporal resolution versus recovery balance as well as little or no analyte loss, respectively. Validation of the developed SPME-HPLC-MS/MS protocol in a surrogate brain matrix yielded satisfactory accuracies of 80-100%, precision below 17%, as well as linear dynamic range and limits of quantitation suitable for determining neurochemicals at physiologically relevant levels. Finally, we present a proof-of concept in vivo application in macaque brain, where several target neurotransmitters were extracted simultaneously from three brain areas. The developed probe and protocol are herein presented as a potential powerful addition to the existing in vivo toolbox for measurements of local levels of neurochemicals in multiple brain systems implicated in the neuropathology of psychiatric disorders.