It is known that excessive concentrations of glutamate in the brain can cause neurotoxicity. A common approach to neutralizing this phenomenon is the use of suppressant drugs. However, excessive dependence on suppressant drugs could potentially lead to adversarial side effects, such as drug addiction. Here, we propose an alternative approach to this problem by controlling excessive amounts of glutamate ions through carbon-based, neural implant–mediated uptake. In this study, we introduce a microfluidic system that enables us to emulate the uptake of glutamate into the carbon matrix. The uptake is controlled using electrical pulses to incorporate glutamate ions into the carbon matrix through electro-adsorption. The effect of electric potential on glutamate ion uptake to control the amount of glutamate released into the microfluidic system was observed. The glutamate concentration was measured using a Ultra Violet-Visible spectrophotometer. The current setup demonstrated that a low pulsatile electric potential (0.5–1.5 V) was able to effectively govern the uptake of glutamate ions. The stimulated carbon matrix was able to decrease glutamate concentration by up to 40%. Furthermore, our study shows that these “entrapped” glutamate molecules can be effectively released upon electrical stimulation, thereby reversing the carbon electrical charge through a process called reverse uptake. A release model was used to study the profile of glutamate release from the carbon matrix at a potential of 0–1.5 V. This study showed that a burst release of glutamate was evident at an applied voltage higher than 0.5 V. Ultimately, the MTS (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium) test for cytotoxicity indicated a cell viability of more than 80% for the carbon matrix. This test demonstrates that the carbon matrix can support the proliferation of cells and has a nontoxic composition; thus, it could be accepted as a candidate material for use as neural implants.
- Carbon matrix
- Microfluidic system
- Neurotransmitter uptake and reverse uptake