MIPS Research Summary: Monitoring dopamine levels to improve the diagnosis and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders

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Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which helps nerve cells to send messages to each other and to other parts of the brain. Dopamine is crucial for countless functions and processes in your body such as learning, sleep, and mood and body movement. It also allows you to feel satisfaction, pleasure and motivation. Abnormal levels of dopamine, like having too little or too much dopamine, can lead to different neurological and psychiatric disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, depression and addiction. For this reason, developing new techniques to monitor dopamine levels, whether in a test tube or in the living body, is essential to improving the diagnosis and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.

In this publication, MIPS researchers - Dr Muamer Dervisevic and Professor Nicolas Voelcker - collaborated with the CSIRO and the University of California, Irvine, to show how an electrochemical sensing platform can be harnessed for monitoring of dopamine released from nerve cells . The sensing platform, fabricated at the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, is composed of arrays of micro-pyramid structures on which nerve cells are grown - once nerve cells are stimulated, dopamine is released and then quantified with the sensor. This approach can provide a feasible dopamine monitoring method when working with nerve cells, leading to further insight into early diagnosis of neurological diseases as well as toxicity assessments of drugs and chemicals on nerve cell.

Article: Electrochemical Micropyramid Array-Based Sensor for In Situ Monitoring of Dopamine Released from Neuroblastoma Cells.

MIPS authors: Muamer Dervisevic & Nicolas H. Voelcker

Access the article here