Last Updated on July 28, 2023

Microdialysis Probes How to Choose the Best One

There are many types of microdialysis probes available – some labs even make their own microdialysis probes. This guide can help you choose the right microdialysis probe for your next project. To learn about how microdialysis works and how it can advance your research goals, please start with our overview: What Is Microdialysis?

If you will be doing chronic microdialysis to measure dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, amino acids or other small molecules in mouse and rat brains, then, our FZ and CX probes are the best choice. These offer industry-leading recovery rates (the ratio of the concentration of an analyte in a recovered sample to the concentration of the analyte in the area surrounding the microdialysis membrane) for small molecules.

When you are working with mice, we recommend lightweight CX-i probes as your first choice. The CX’s narrow-body allows for bilateral microdialysis, even if your targets are close to the midline. The CX probe snaps into its guide cannula, so it is quick to insert and remove.

For rats and for longer experiments with mice we recommend our newly released FZ probes. The FZ probe is secured in the AG guide cannula by a cap nut (AC-5), locking it into place. This way rats and cannot dislodge the probe by scratching at it. The FZ probe is very similar to our outgoing AZ probe: we kept the best parts of the AZ probe and then made it both easier to use and more robust for use with more active adult rats. The FZ probe uses the same guide cannula and accessories as the AZ probe.

The FZ probe is also offered with a microinjection option: a microinjection cannula (orange) is attached to the MI-AZ probe so that drugs, antibodies, and other molecules can be delivered to the microdialysis site at a specific time(s).

The FZ, MI-AZ, and CX probes are mainly used for chronic microdialysis and use guide cannulae to accurately position the probe during implantation and protect the probe during the experiment. The guide cannula can be surgically implanted well before your actual microdialysis experiment and allows you to quickly implant the probe itself just before beginning an experiment. A dummy probe can be used instead of a microdialysis probe during recovery, conditioning, or while waiting for an injected vector to begin expressing proteins. We recommend using each microdialysis probe only once, as microdialysis membranes may become fouled if used repeatedly. When this happens, the recovery rate of the probe may drop and alter the results of your experiment.

DZ probe


For acute microdialysis experiments, where the mouse or rat remains on the stereotaxic frame during the entirety of the experiment, we have the DZ probe. This is our smallest probe, and it is intended to be directly implanted without a guide cannula. While we recommend it for acute experiments, The DZ probe can be used for shorter experiments with freely moving mice.

Researchers use our AtmosLM™ large molecule microdialysis probes to measure levels of peptides, proteins, antibodies, and even ApoE (Apolipoprotein E) particles. These probes have membranes with a molecular weight cut off of one million daltons. The AtmosLM PEP probes are superior to other push-pull probes because we add a vent to equalize pressure between the lumen of the probe and ambient conditions. This stops convection – the bulk transfer of water and solutes being driven across the membrane by pressure – and greatly enhances the accuracy of sampling. We offer these probes with polyethylene – uncharged – and polysulfone – charged membranes, to match your analyte.

If you will need to do MRI or PET imaging studies with the guide cannula and probe in place, we offer C-I probes and guide cannulae. The C-I series are metal-free and won’t interfere with imaging.

OP Probe

TP Probe

All of the probes discussed above were designed for use in the brain, but we also have probes for peripheral tissues. The OP linear probe is designed for dermal use and has a needle at one end to make it easy to implant, and the TP flexible concentric probe can be used in blood vessels and the GI tract.

Many of our probes can be made with different membrane materials. If you would prefer a polyethersulfone (PES) or polyacrylonitrile (PAN) membrane instead of cuprophane (artificial cellulose), please ask us. All of our probes, stereotaxic adapters, and accessories are made to your custom size requirements in just two weeks – even for the smallest orders. We also maintain a large inventory of FZ, CX-i, and PEP probes ready to ship the day you place your order.

If you are planning a new project or having trouble with your current one, please give us a call and we can help you troubleshoot. Eicom has been manufacturing microdialysis probes and equipment for 30 years and we have an integrated support/sales team so you can rely on our expertise.