A Novel Microbiosensor Microarray for Continuous Monitoring of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid in Real-Time

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Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter that is essential for normal brain function. It is involved in multiple neuronal activities, including plasticity, information processing, and network synchronization. Abnormal GABA levels result in severe brain disorders and therefore GABA has been the target of a wide range of drug therapeutics. GABA being non-electroactive is challenging to detect in real-time. To date, GABA is detected mainly via microdialysis with a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system that employs electrochemical (EC) and spectroscopic methodology. However, these systems are bulky and unsuitable for real-time continuous monitoring. As opposed to microdialysis, biosensors are easy to miniaturize and are highly suitable for studies; they selectively oxidize GABA into a secondary electroactive product (usually hydrogen peroxide, HO) in the presence of enzymes, which is then detected by amperometry. Unfortunately, this method requires a rather cumbersome process with prereactors and relies on externally applied reagents. Here, we report the design and implementation of a GABA microarray probe that operates on a newly conceived principle. It consists of two microbiosensors, one for glutamate (Glu) and one for GABA detection, modified with glutamate oxidase and GABASE enzymes, respectively. By simultaneously measuring and subtracting the HO oxidation currents generated from these microbiosensors, GABA and Glu can be detected continuously in real-time and and without the addition of any externally applied reagents. The detection of GABA by this probe is based upon the generation of α-ketoglutarate from the Glu oxidation that takes place at the Glu microbiosensor. A GABA sensitivity of 36 ± 2.5 pA μMcm, which is 26-fold higher than reported in the literature, and a limit of detection of 2 ± 0.12 μM were achieved in an setting. The GABA probe was successfully tested in an adult rat brain slice preparation. These results demonstrate that the developed GABA probe constitutes a novel and powerful neuroscientific tool that could be employed in the future for longitudinal studies of the combined role of GABA and Glu (a major excitatory neurotransmitter) signaling in brain disorders, such as epilepsy and traumatic brain injury, as well as in preclinical trials of potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of these disorders.


GABA, biosensor, electrochemical, ex vivo, glutamate, microarray, neurochemical

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Frontiers in neuroscience





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