Using extracellular low frequency signals to improve the spike sorting of cerebellar complex spikes

Gil Zur, Mati Joshua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The challenge of spike sorting has been addressed by numerous electrophysiological studies. These methods tend to focus on the information conveyed by the high frequencies, but ignore the potentially informative signals at lower frequencies. Activation of Purkinje cells in the cerebellum by input from the climbing fibers results in a large amplitude dendritic spike concurrent with a high-frequency burst known as a complex spike. Due to the variability in the high-frequency component of complex spikes, previous methods have struggled to sort these complex spikes in an accurate and reliable way. However, complex spikes have a prominent extracellular low-frequency signal generated by the input from the climbing fibers, which can be exploited for complex spike sorting. New method: We exploited the low-frequency signal (20–400 Hz) to improve complex spike sorting by applying Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Results and comparisons: The low-frequency first PC achieves a better separation of the complex spikes from noise. The low-frequency data facilitate the detection of events entering into the analysis, and therefore can be harnessed to analyze the data with a larger signal to noise ratio. These advantages make this method more effective for complex spike sorting than methods restricted to the high-frequency signal (> 600 Hz). Conclusions: Gathering low frequency data can improve spike sorting. This is illustrated for the case of complex spikes in the cerebellum. Our characterization of the dendritic low-frequency components of complex spikes can be applied elsewhere to gain insights into processing in the cerebellum.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number108423
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Cerebellum
  • Complex spikes
  • Low frequency
  • Spike detection
  • Spike sorting

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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