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Spontaneous activity in developing turtle retinal ganglion cells: Statistical analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Evelyne SernagorORCiD


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We report on the temporal properties of the spontaneous bursts of activity in the developing turtle retina. Quantitative statistical criteria were used to detect, cluster, and analyze the temporal properties of the bursts. The interburst interval, duration, firing rate, and number of spikes per burst varied widely among cells and from burst to burst in a single cell. Part of this variability was due to the positive correlation between a burst's duration and the interburst interval preceding that burst. This correlation indicated the influence of a refractory period on the bursts' properties. Further evidence of such a refractoriness came from the bursts' auto-covariance function, which gives the tendency of a spike to occur a given amount of time after another spike. This function showed a positive phase (between ≃10 ms and 10 s) followed by a negative one (between 10 s and more than 100 s), suggestive of burst refractoriness. The bursts seemed to be propagating from cell to cell, because there was a long (symmetrically distributed) delay between the activation of two neighbor cells (median absolute delay = 2.3 s). However, the activity often failed to propagate from one cell to the other (median safety factor = 0.59). The number of spikes per burst in neighbor cells was statistically positively correlated, indicating that the activity in the two cells was driven by the same excitatory process. At least two factors contribute to the excitability during bursts, because the positive phase of the cross-covariance function (similar to auto- covariance but for two cells) had a temporally asymmetric fast component (1-3 ms) followed by a temporally symmetric slow component (1 ms to 10 s).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sernagor E; Grzywacz NM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Visual Neuroscience

Year: 2000

Volume: 17

Issue: 2

Pages: 229-241

ISSN (print): 0952-5238

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8714

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0952523800172050

PubMed id: 10824677


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