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Analysis of electrophysiological signals recorded from the brain with Lempel-Ziv (LZ) complexity, a measure based on coarse-graining of the signal, can provide valuable insights into understanding brain activity. LZ complexity of local field potential signals recorded from the neocortex of 11 adult male Wistar-Kyoto rats in different vigilance states - waking, non-rapid-eye movement (NREM) and REM sleep - was estimated with different coarse-graining techniques (median, LZCm, and k-means, LZCkm). Furthermore, surrogate data were used to test the hypothesis that LZ complexity results reveal effects accounted for by temporal structure of the signal, rather than merely its frequency content. LZ complexity values were significantly lower in NREM sleep as compared to waking and REM sleep, for both real and surrogate signals. LZCkm and LZCm values were similar, although in NREM sleep the values deviated in some epochs, where signals also differed significantly in terms of temporal structure and spectral content. Thus, the interpretation of LZ complexity results should take into account the specific algorithm used to coarse-grain the signal. Moreover, the occurrence of high amplitude slow waves during NREM sleep determines LZ complexity to a large extent, but characteristics such as the temporal sequence of slow waves or cross-frequency interactions might also play a role. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014.

Original publication




Journal article


IFMBE Proceedings

Publication Date





706 - 709