Characterization of novel Zeolite based Dopamine sensors

Shahzad Munir1, Ivo Sonntag1, Frank Biedermann2, Thomas Kuner Kuner1

1 Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology, University Heidelberg
2 Insitute of Nanotechnology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

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Dopamine is an important modulatory neurotransmitter that is involved in motor control and reward-motivated behavior. We characterize the use of zeolites as an artificial neurotransmitter receptor (ANR) to monitor dopamine transients in-vivo. Zeolites are nanoporous crystalline materials that have a regular structure containing tetrahedral Al-Si ordering. The negatively charged pore of the zeolites can bind positively charged reporter dyes for various biogenic amines. The interaction of dopamine with the dye quenches the fluorescence signal and thus enables the visualization of dopamine. The zeolite-dye complex is delivered to the striatum using stereotaxic injections and dopamine transients are imaged using confocal as well as two-photon microscopy. The spatial and temporal distribution of the ANRs was visualized in perfused brain tissue slices and potential neuroinflammation was probed using immunohistochemical assays against astrocytes and microglia. Furthermore, an assay visualizing the internalization of ANRs was carried out to study their interaction with single cells and the localization around synapses.

This approach promises a flexible new method for the investigation of dopaminergic pathways in in-vivo studies in a behavioral context.