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Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience
Volume 2012, Article ID 918030, 17 pages
Research Article

Interspike Interval Based Filtering of Directional Selective Retinal Ganglion Cells Spike Trains

Computer Science Department VI, Technical University Munich, Boltzmannstraße 3, 85748 Garching, Germany

Received 30 March 2012; Accepted 10 June 2012

Academic Editor: Saeid Sanei

Copyright © 2012 Aurel Vasile Martiniuc and Alois Knoll. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The information regarding visual stimulus is encoded in spike trains at the output of retina by retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Among these, the directional selective cells (DSRGC) are signaling the direction of stimulus motion. DSRGCs' spike trains show accentuated periods of short interspike intervals (ISIs) framed by periods of isolated spikes. Here we use two types of visual stimulus, white noise and drifting bars, and show that short ISI spikes of DSRGCs spike trains are more often correlated to their preferred stimulus feature (that is, the direction of stimulus motion) and carry more information than longer ISI spikes. Firstly, our results show that correlation between stimulus and recorded neuronal response is best at short ISI spiking activity and decrease as ISI becomes larger. We then used grating bars stimulus and found that as ISI becomes shorter the directional selectivity is better and information rates are higher. Interestingly, for the less encountered type of DSRGC, known as ON-DSRGC, short ISI distribution and information rates revealed consistent differences when compared with the other directional selective cell type, the ON-OFF DSRGC. However, these findings suggest that ISI-based temporal filtering integrates a mechanism for visual information processing at the output of retina toward higher stages within early visual system.