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PLoS One. 2013 May 30;8(5):e65439. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065439. Print 2013.

Statistical analysis and decoding of neural activity in the rodent geniculate ganglion using a metric-based inference system.

Author information

  • 1Program in Neuroscience, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.

Abstract

We analyzed the spike discharge patterns of two types of neurons in the rodent peripheral gustatory system, Na specialists (NS) and acid generalists (AG) to lingual stimulation with NaCl, acetic acid, and mixtures of the two stimuli. Previous computational investigations found that both spike rate and spike timing contribute to taste quality coding. These studies used commonly accepted computational methods, but they do not provide a consistent statistical evaluation of spike trains. In this paper, we adopted a new computational framework that treated each spike train as an individual data point for computing summary statistics such as mean and variance in the spike train space. We found that these statistical summaries properly characterized the firing patterns (e. g. template and variability) and quantified the differences between NS and AG neurons. The same framework was also used to assess the discrimination performance of NS and AG neurons and to remove spontaneous background activity or "noise" from the spike train responses. The results indicated that the new metric system provided the desired decoding performance and noise-removal improved stimulus classification accuracy, especially of neurons with high spontaneous rates. In summary, this new method naturally conducts statistical analysis and neural decoding under one consistent framework, and the results demonstrated that individual peripheral-gustatory neurons generate a unique and reliable firing pattern during sensory stimulation and that this pattern can be reliably decoded.

PMID:
23738016
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3667800
Free PMC Article
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