Novel use of matched filtering for synaptic event detection and extraction

PLoS One. 2010 Nov 24;5(11):e15517. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015517.


Efficient and dependable methods for detection and measurement of synaptic events are important for studies of synaptic physiology and neuronal circuit connectivity. As the published methods with detection algorithms based upon amplitude thresholding and fixed or scaled template comparisons are of limited utility for detection of signals with variable amplitudes and superimposed events that have complex waveforms, previous techniques are not applicable for detection of evoked synaptic events in photostimulation and other similar experimental situations. Here we report on a novel technique that combines the design of a bank of approximate matched filters with the detection and estimation theory to automatically detect and extract photostimluation-evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) from individually recorded neurons in cortical circuit mapping experiments. The sensitivity and specificity of the method were evaluated on both simulated and experimental data, with its performance comparable to that of visual event detection performed by human operators. This new technique was applied to quantify and compare the EPSCs obtained from excitatory pyramidal cells and fast-spiking interneurons. In addition, our technique has been further applied to the detection and analysis of inhibitory postsynaptic current (IPSC) responses. Given the general purpose of our matched filtering and signal recognition algorithms, we expect that our technique can be appropriately modified and applied to detect and extract other types of electrophysiological and optical imaging signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurophysiology / methods*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Software
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*