An integrative approach for analyzing hundreds of neurons in task performing mice using wide-field calcium imaging

Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 8;6:20986. doi: 10.1038/srep20986.


Advances in neurotechnology have been integral to the investigation of neural circuit function in systems neuroscience. Recent improvements in high performance fluorescent sensors and scientific CMOS cameras enables optical imaging of neural networks at a much larger scale. While exciting technical advances demonstrate the potential of this technique, further improvement in data acquisition and analysis, especially those that allow effective processing of increasingly larger datasets, would greatly promote the application of optical imaging in systems neuroscience. Here we demonstrate the ability of wide-field imaging to capture the concurrent dynamic activity from hundreds to thousands of neurons over millimeters of brain tissue in behaving mice. This system allows the visualization of morphological details at a higher spatial resolution than has been previously achieved using similar functional imaging modalities. To analyze the expansive data sets, we developed software to facilitate rapid downstream data processing. Using this system, we show that a large fraction of anatomically distinct hippocampal neurons respond to discrete environmental stimuli associated with classical conditioning, and that the observed temporal dynamics of transient calcium signals are sufficient for exploring certain spatiotemporal features of large neural networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor
  • Female
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Molecular Imaging*
  • Nerve Net*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology


  • Calcium