Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing

, Volume 53, Issue 10, pp 1025–1035 | Cite as

Robust estimation of the motile cilia beating frequency

  • O. Meste
  • F. Brau
  • A. Guyon
Original Article


The estimation of the cilia beating frequency (CBF) is of great interest in understanding how the CBF modulates liquid fluxes and how it is controlled by the ciliated cell intra- and/or extracellular medium composition in physiological processes. Motion artifacts and camera defaults may hinder the computation of the frequency variations during long-lasting experiments. We have developed a new analysis approach consisting of a preliminary corrective step (removal of a grid pattern on the image sequence and shift compensation), followed by a harmonic model of the observed cilia using a maximum likelihood estimator framework. It is shown that a more accurate estimation of the frequency can be obtained by averaging the squared Fourier transform of individual pixels followed by a particular summation over the different frequencies, namely the compressed spectrum. Robustness of the proposed method over traditional approaches is shown by several examples and simulations. The method is then applied to images of samples containing ciliated ependymal cells located in the third cerebral ventricle of mouse brains, showing that even small variations in CBF in response to changes in the amount of oxygenation, pH or glucose were clearly visible in the computed frequencies. As a conclusion, this method reveals a fine metabolic tuning of the cilia beating in ependimocytes lining the third cerebral ventricle. Such regulations are likely to participate in homeostatic mechanisms regulating CSF movements and brain energy supply.


Signal processing Cilia Frequency estimation 



Authors would like to thank N. Ramkumar, G. Conductier and J.L. Nahon for their contributions to this work and C. Lebeaupin, P. Lowis and P. Bonizzi for their help with the manuscript proofreading. This work has been partly funded by Grant PEPS 2010 and supported by INSB.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lab I3S, UMR 7271, CNRSUniversity of Nice-Sophia AntipolisSophia AntipolisFrance
  2. 2.IPMC, UMR 7275, CNRSUniversity of Nice-Sophia AntipolisValbonneFrance

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