Spike sorting based on shape, phase, and distribution features, and K-TOPS clustering with validity and error indices

Sci Rep. 2018 Dec 12;8(1):17796. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35491-4.


Spike sorting is one of the most important data analysis problems in neurophysiology. The precision in all steps of the spike-sorting procedure critically affects the accuracy of all subsequent analyses. After data preprocessing and spike detection have been carried out properly, both feature extraction and spike clustering are the most critical subsequent steps of the spike-sorting procedure. The proposed spike sorting approach comprised a new feature extraction method based on shape, phase, and distribution features of each spike (hereinafter SS-SPDF method), which reveal significant information of the neural events under study. In addition, we applied an efficient clustering algorithm based on K-means and template optimization in phase space (hereinafter K-TOPS) that included two integrative clustering measures (validity and error indices) to verify the cohesion-dispersion among spike events during classification and the misclassification of clustering, respectively. The proposed method/algorithm was tested on both simulated data and real neural recordings. The results obtained for these datasets suggest that our spike sorting approach provides an efficient way for sorting both single-unit spikes and overlapping waveforms. By analyzing raw extracellular recordings collected from the rostral-medial prefrontal cortex (rmPFC) of behaving rabbits during classical eyeblink conditioning, we have demonstrated that the present method/algorithm performs better at classifying spikes and neurons and at assessing their modulating properties than other methods currently used in neurophysiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't