A stochastic model for the joint evaluation of burstiness and regularity in oscillatory spike trains

The thesis provides a stochastic model to quantify and classify neuronal firing patterns of oscillatory spike trains. A spike train is a finite sequence of time points  at which a neuron has an electric discharge (spike)
The thesis provides a stochastic model to quantify and classify neuronal firing patterns of oscillatory spike trains. A spike train is a finite sequence of time points  at which a neuron has an electric discharge (spike) which is recorded over a finite time interval. In this work, these spike times are analyzed regarding special firing patterns like the presence or absence of oscillatory activity and clusters (so called bursts). These bursts do not have a clear and unique definition in the literature. They are often fired in response to behaviorally relevant stimuli, e.g., an unexpected reward or a novel stimulus, but may also appear spontaneously. Oscillatory activity has been found to be related to complex information processing such as feature binding or figure ground segregation in the visual cortex. Thus, in the context of neurophysiology, it is important to quantify and classify these firing patterns and their change under certain experimental conditions like pharmacological treatment or genetical manipulation. In neuroscientific practice, the classification is often done by visual inspection criteria without giving reproducible results. Furthermore, descriptive methods are used for the quantification of spike trains without relating the extracted measures to properties of the underlying processes.
For that reason,  a doubly stochastic point process model is proposed and termed 'Gaussian Locking to a free Oscillator' - GLO. The model has been developed on the basis of empirical observations in dopaminergic neurons and in cooperation with neurophysiologists. The GLO model uses as a first stage an unobservable oscillatory background rhythm which is represented by a stationary random walk whose increments are normally distributed. Two different model types are used to describe single spike firing or clusters of spikes. For both model types, the distribution of the random number of spikes per beat has different probability distributions (Bernoulli in the single spike case or Poisson in the cluster case). In the second stage, the random spike times are placed around their birth beat according to a normal distribution. These spike times represent the observed point process  which has five easily interpretable parameters to describe the regularity and the burstiness of the firing patterns. 
It turns out that the point process is stationary, simple and ergodic. It can be characterized as a cluster process and for the bursty firing mode as a Cox process. Furthermore, the distribution of the waiting times between spikes can be derived for some parameter combination. The conditional intensity function of the point process is derived which is also called autocorrelation function (ACF) in the neuroscience literature. This function arises by conditioning on a spike at time zero and measures the intensity of spikes x time units later. The autocorrelation histogram (ACH) is an estimate for the ACF. The parameters of the GLO are estimated by fitting the ACF to the ACH with a nonlinear least squares algorithm. This is a common procedure in neuroscientific practice and has the advantage that the GLO ACF can be computed for all parameter combinations and that its properties are closely related to the burstiness and regularity of the process. The precision of estimation is investigated for different scenarios using Monte-Carlo simulations and bootstrap methods. 
The GLO provides the neuroscientist with objective and reproducible classification rules for the firing patterns on the basis of the model ACF. These rules are inspired by visual inspection criteria often used in neuroscientific practice and thus support and complement usual analysis of empirical spike trains. When applied to a sample data set, the model is able to detect significant changes in the regularity and burst behavior of the cells and provides confidence intervals for the parameter estimates.
show moreshow less

Download full text files

Export metadata

  • Export Bibtex
  • Export RIS

Additional Services

    Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar
Author:Markus Bingmer
Referee:Gaby Schneider, Anton Wakolbinger
Advisor:Gaby Schneider
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2013/05/31
Year of first Publication:2013
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2013/04/15
Release Date:2013/05/31
Tag:autocorrelograms; firing patterns; point process; spike train
Pagenumber:VI, 174 S.
HeBIS PPN:322265630
Dewey Decimal Classification:510 Mathematik
Licence (German):License Logo Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen

$Rev: 11761 $