Indexed on: 02 Sep '17Published on: 02 Sep '17Published in: Frontiers in neural circuits
The application of 2-photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM) techniques to measure the dynamics of cellular calcium signals in populations of neurons is an extremely powerful technique for characterizing neural activity within the central nervous system. The use of TPLSM on awake and behaving subjects promises new insights into how neural circuit elements cooperatively interact to form sensory perceptions and generate behavior. A major challenge in imaging such preparations is unavoidable animal and tissue movement, which leads to shifts in the imaging location (jitter). The presence of image motion can lead to artifacts, especially since quantification of TPLSM images involves analysis of fluctuations in fluorescence intensities for each neuron, determined from small regions of interest (ROIs). Here, we validate a new motion correction approach to compensate for motion of TPLSM images in the superficial layers of auditory cortex of awake mice. We use a nominally uniform fluorescent signal as a secondary signal to complement the dynamic signals from genetically encoded calcium indicators. We tested motion correction for single plane time lapse imaging as well as multiplane (i.e., volume) time lapse imaging of cortical tissue. Our procedure of motion correction relies on locating the brightest neurons and tracking their positions over time using established techniques of particle finding and tracking. We show that our tracking based approach provides subpixel resolution without compromising speed. Unlike most established methods, our algorithm also captures deformations of the field of view and thus can compensate e.g., for rotations. Object tracking based motion correction thus offers an alternative approach for motion correction, one that is well suited for real time spike inference analysis and feedback control, and for correcting for tissue distortions.