A method for the separation and detection of analytes in the dopamine metabolic pathway was developed using microchip electrophoresis with electrochemical detection. The microchip consisted of a 5 cm PDMS separation channel in a simple-t configuration. Analytes in the dopamine metabolic pathway were separated using a background electrolyte composed of 15 mM phosphate at pH 7.4, 15 mM SDS, and 2.5 mM boric acid. Two different microchip substrates using different electrode materials were compared for the analysis: a PDMS/PDMS device with a carbon fiber electrode and a PDMS/glass hybrid device with a pyrolyzed photoresist film carbon electrode. While the PDMS/PDMS device generated high separation efficiencies and good resolution, more reproducible migration times were obtained with the PDMS/glass hybrid device, making it a better choice for biological applications. Lastly, the optimized method was used to monitor l-DOPA metabolism in a rat brain slice.
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