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Human REM sleep recalibrates neural activity in support of memory formation

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Sci Adv. 2023 Aug 25;9(34):eadj1895. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adj1895. Epub 2023 Aug 25.


The proposed mechanisms of sleep-dependent memory consolidation involve the overnight regulation of neural activity at both synaptic and whole-network levels. Now, there is a lack of in vivo data in humans elucidating if, and how, sleep and its varied stages balance neural activity, and if such recalibration benefits memory. We combined electrophysiology with in vivo two-photon calcium imaging in rodents as well as intracranial and scalp electroencephalography (EEG) in humans to reveal a key role for non-oscillatory brain activity during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep to mediate sleep-dependent recalibration of neural population dynamics. The extent of this REM sleep recalibration predicted the success of overnight memory consolidation, expressly the modulation of hippocampal-neocortical activity, favoring remembering rather than forgetting. The findings describe a non-oscillatory mechanism how human REM sleep modulates neural population activity to enhance long-term memory.

PMID:37624898 | DOI:10.1126/sciadv.adj1895

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