Exploring wavelet transforms for morphological differentiation between functionally different cat retinal ganglion cells

H. F. Jelinek, R. M. Cesar, J. J.G. Leandro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Cognition or higher brain activity is sometimes seen as a phenomenon greater than the sum of its parts. This viewpoint however is largely dependent on the state of the art of experimental techniques that endeavor to characterize morphology and its association to function. Retinal ganglion cells are readily accessible for this work and we discuss recent advances in computational techniques in identifying novel parameters that describe structural attributes possibly associated with specific function. These parameters are based on calculating wavelet gradients from cell images followed by the extraction of meaningful measures including 2nd wavelet moment, entropy of orientation, and curvature. For the three cell types analyzed, the mean 2nd wavelet moment, which relates to the field of influence of the dendritic-tree segments was significantly different. β cells had the highest mean 2nd wavelet moment, followed by the α and δcells (134 ± 22,93 ± 19 and 63 ± 12, respectively). There was no significant difference between cells for entropy of orientation, indicating no class with a preferential orientation of their dendritic tree. Curvature provided similar results to the 2nd wavelet moment with β cells having the highest curvature followed by α and the δ cells (mean ± SD: 161 ± 15; 134 ± 22; 121 ± 15). Our feature space analysis also indicated a difference between these cell types. No difference was found between the α and β cell types and their physiological counterparts the Y and X cells based on wavelet analysis. Both the X and Y cells can be divided into two subtypes, the ON- and OFF-center cells based on the stratification level of the dendritic tree within the retina. Using 2nd wavelet moment, a difference in their morphological attributes, not reported previously, was noted for these subtypes. The 2nd wavelet moment and curvature are further discussed with respect to explaining regularity of spacing and coverage associated with retinal ganglion cell mosaics.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)67-90
Number of pages24
JournalBrain and Mind
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2003


  • Cat retinal ganglion cells
  • Curvature
  • Entropy of orientation
  • Function
  • Morphology
  • Mosaics
  • Wavelet gradient
  • Wavelet moment


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