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A computational toolbox and step-by-step tutorial for the analysis of neuronal population dynamics in calcium imaging data

By Sebastián A. Romano, Verónica Pérez-Schuster, Adrien Jouary, Alessia Candeo, Jonathan Boulanger-Weill, Germán Sumbre

Posted 28 Jan 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/103879 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005526)

The development of new imaging and optogenetics techniques to study the dynamics of large neuronal circuits is generating datasets of unprecedented volume and complexity, demanding the development of appropriate analysis tools. We present a tutorial for the use of a comprehensive computational toolbox for the analysis of neuronal population activity imaging. It consists of tools for image pre-processing and segmentation, estimation of significant single-neuron single-trial signals, mapping event-related neuronal responses, detection of activity-correlated neuronal clusters, exploration of population dynamics, and analysis of clusters' features against surrogate control datasets. They are integrated in a modular and versatile processing pipeline, adaptable to different needs. The clustering module is capable of detecting flexible, dynamically activated neuronal assemblies, consistent with the distributed population coding of the brain. We demonstrate the suitability of the toolbox for a variety of calcium imaging datasets, and provide a case study to explain its implementation.

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