Semi-automated calcium imaging analysis: for in-vitro applications

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Calcium imaging is a well-established, non-invasive or minimally technique designed to study the electrical signaling neurons. Calcium regulates the release of gliotransmitters in astrocytes. Analyzing astrocytic calcium transients can provide

Calcium imaging is a well-established, non-invasive or minimally technique designed to study the electrical signaling neurons. Calcium regulates the release of gliotransmitters in astrocytes. Analyzing astrocytic calcium transients can provide significant insights into mechanisms such as neuroplasticity and neural signal modulation.

In the past decade, numerous methods have been developed to analyze in-vivo calcium imaging data that involves complex techniques such as overlapping signals segregation and motion artifact correction. The hypothesis used to detect calcium signal is the spatiotemporal sparsity of calcium signal, and these methods are unable to identify the passive cells that are not actively firing during the time frame in the video. Statistics regarding the percentage of cells in each frame of view can be critical for the analysis of calcium imaging data for human induced pluripotent stem cells derived neurons and astrocytes.

The objective of this research is to develop a simple and efficient semi-automated pipeline for analysis of in-vitro calcium imaging data. The region of interest (ROI) based image segmentation is used to extract the data regarding intensity fluctuation caused by calcium concentration changes in each cell. It is achieved by using two approaches: basic image segmentation approach and a machine learning approach. The intensity data is evaluated using a custom-made MATLAB that generates statistical information and graphical representation of the number of spiking cells in each field of view, the number of spikes per cell and spike height.