Last Updated on September 20, 2023


Microdialysis is a powerful sample collection and administration technique used in scientific research to monitor and analyze the chemical composition of extracellular fluid in various tissues. Microdialysis offers valuable insights into the dynamic changes of neurotransmitters, metabolites, and other molecules within living organisms. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of microdialysis and explore its applications across different fields.

Section 1: Understanding Microdialysis

Principles of Microdialysis

Microdialysis involves the insertion of a semi-permeable probe, known as a microdialysis probe, into the tissue of interest. The probe is perfused with a physiological solution that closely mimics the composition of the extracellular fluid. As the perfusion solution flows through the probe, it creates a concentration gradient that facilitates the diffusion of molecules from the surrounding tissue into the probe. The collected dialysate can then be analyzed to measure the levels of specific analytes.

Probe Design and Materials

Microdialysis probes are available in various designs and materials, each with its own characteristics and applications. The choice of probe design, such as shaft length, diameter, and membrane length, depends on the target tissue. The materials used for the probe membranes can be tailored to suit specific research needs, including biocompatible polymers or glass.

Section 2: Applications of Microdialysis

Neurochemical Research

Microdialysis has revolutionized the field of neuroscience by providing a means to study the dynamic changes in neurotransmitter levels within the brain. Researchers can investigate neurotransmitter release, reuptake, and metabolism in various brain regions. Microdialysis is also invaluable in studying the effects of drugs, diseases, and neuropsychiatric disorders on neurochemical signaling.

Explore Eicom Microdialysis Probes!

Our probes have a 220 µm outer diameter. The probe inlet connects to a syringe pump, which continuously perfuses through the probe.  As the perfusate travels through the probe, analytes cross the membrane and travel out the probe outlet into sample vials on a fraction collector or to a sample loop of an analytical system via a narrow tubing. This valuable tool enables the sampling of rather low molecular weight compounds from within the extracellular space of tissues.

Pharmacokinetics and Drug Development

Microdialysis plays a crucial role in pharmacokinetic studies by allowing researchers to monitor drug concentrations. By continuously sampling from specific tissues, such as brain or muscle, microdialysis provides valuable information on drug distribution, metabolism, and elimination. This data aids in the optimization of drug dosage and formulation during the drug development process.


Metabolic Studies

Microdialysis is widely employed in metabolic research to assess tissue-specific metabolism. By measuring the levels of substrate and metabolites, such as glucose, lactate, and amino acids, researchers can gain insights into energy utilization, cellular metabolism, and metabolic disorders. Microdialysis also enables the study of organ-specific metabolism in various tissues, including the liver, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle.

Environmental Monitoring

Microdialysis finds applications in environmental research for monitoring and analyzing chemical compounds in different environmental matrices. It enables continuous sampling and analysis of pollutants, toxins, or biomarkers in water, soil, air, and biological tissues. Microdialysis contributes to understanding environmental contamination, pollutant fate, and human exposure risks.

Integration with Imaging Techniques

Microdialysis can be combined with imaging techniques, such as fluorescence imaging or mass spectrometry imaging, to provide spatial information about analyte distribution within tissues. This correlation between microdialysis and imaging techniques enables researchers to gain insights into the spatial dynamics and localization of analytes, enhancing their understanding of physiological processes and disease mechanisms. By integrating microdialysis with imaging techniques, researchers can correlate the temporal information obtained through microdialysis with the spatial distribution of analytes. This integration opens up new possibilities for advanced research in fields such as neuroscience, pharmacology, and environmental monitoring.