Neocortical neurons show UP-DOWN state (UDS) oscillations under a variety of conditions. These UDS have been extensively studied because of the insight they can yield into the functioning of cortical networks, and their proposed role in putative memory formation. A key element in these studies is determining the precise duration and timing of the UDS. These states are typically determined from the membrane potential of one or a small number of cells, which is often not sufficient to reliably estimate the state of an ensemble of neocortical neurons. The local field potential (LFP) provides an attractive method for determining the state of a patch of cortex with high spatio-temporal resolution; however current methods for inferring UDS from LFP signals lack the robustness and flexibility to be applicable when UDS properties may vary substantially within and across experiments. Here we present an explicit-duration hidden Markov model (EDHMM) framework that is sufficiently general to allow statistically principled inference of UDS from different types of signals (membrane potential, LFP, EEG), combinations of signals (e.g., multichannel LFP recordings) and signal features over long recordings where substantial non-stationarities are present. Using cortical LFPs recorded from urethane-anesthetized mice, we demonstrate that the proposed method allows robust inference of UDS. To illustrate the flexibility of the algorithm we show that it performs well on EEG recordings as well. We then validate these results using simultaneous recordings of the LFP and membrane potential (MP) of nearby cortical neurons, showing that our method offers significant improvements over standard methods. These results could be useful for determining functional connectivity of different brain regions, as well as understanding network dynamics.
McFarland, J. M., Hahn, T. T. G., & Mehta, M. R. (2011). Explicit-duration hidden markov model inference of up-down states from continuous signals. PLoS ONE, 6(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021606