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Robust self-supervised denoising of voltage imaging data using CellMincer

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bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Apr 15:2024.04.12.589298. doi: 10.1101/2024.04.12.589298.


Voltage imaging enables high-throughput investigation of neuronal activity, yet its utility is often constrained by a low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Conventional denoising algorithms, such as those based on matrix factorization, impose limiting assumptions about the noise process and the spatiotemporal structure of the signal. While deep learning based denoising techniques offer greater adaptability, existing approaches fail to fully exploit the fast temporal dynamics and unique short- and long-range dependencies within voltage imaging datasets. Here, we introduce CellMincer, a novel self-supervised deep learning method designed specifically for denoising voltage imaging datasets. CellMincer operates on the principle of masking and predicting sparse sets of pixels across short temporal windows and conditions the denoiser on precomputed spatiotemporal auto-correlations to effectively model long-range dependencies without the need for large temporal denoising contexts. We develop and utilize a physics-based simulation framework to generate realistic datasets for rigorous hyperparameter optimization and ablation studies, highlighting the key role of conditioning the denoiser on precomputed spatiotemporal auto-correlations to achieve 3-fold further reduction in noise. Comprehensive benchmarking on both simulated and real voltage imaging datasets, including those with paired patch-clamp electrophysiology (EP) as ground truth, demonstrates CellMincer’s state-of-the-art performance. It achieves substantial noise reduction across the entire frequency spectrum, enhanced detection of subthreshold events, and superior cross-correlation with ground-truth EP recordings. Finally, we demonstrate how CellMincer’s addition to a typical voltage imaging data analysis workflow improves neuronal segmentation, peak detection, and ultimately leads to significantly enhanced separation of functional phenotypes.

PMID:38659950 | PMC:PMC11042234 | DOI:10.1101/2024.04.12.589298

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