Quantification and statistical verification of neuronal stimulus responses from noisy spike train data


Usually neuronal responses to short-lasting stimuli are displayed as peri-stimulus time histogram. The function estimated by such a histogram allows to obtain informations about stimulus-induced postsynaptic events as long as the interpretation is restricted to the first response component after the stimulus. The interpretation of secondary response components is much more difficult, as they may be either due to stimulus effects or represent an “echo” of the primary response. In the present paper two output functions are developed that do not show such an echoing of responses. The first one, the interspike interval change function, represents an ideal way to quantify a neuronal stimulus response as its amplitude was found to be almost independent of the stimulation strategy used during acquisition of the spike train data. The other function, the displaced impulses function, allows to verify the statistical significance of an observed response component. Both functions may be estimated from stimulus-correlated spike train data, even if the neuron under investigation shows considerable interspike-interval variability in the absence of stimulation. The concepts underlying these neuronal output functions are developed on simulated responses of a Hodgkin-Huxley-type model for a mammalian neuron at body temperature that is exposed to a transient excitatory conductance increase. Additionally, estimation of these output functions is also demonstrated on responses of human soleus motoneurons that were exposed to electrical stimuli of the tibial nerve in the popliteal fossa.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00224862

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@article{Awiszus1993QuantificationAS, title={Quantification and statistical verification of neuronal stimulus responses from noisy spike train data}, author={Friedemann Awiszus}, journal={Biological Cybernetics}, year={1993}, volume={68}, pages={267-274} }