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Neuron. 2001 Jan;29(1):145-56.

Temporally structured replay of awake hippocampal ensemble activity during rapid eye movement sleep.

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Department of Biology, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Center for Learning and Memory, RIKEN-MIT Neuroscience Research Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Human dreaming occurs during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. To investigate the structure of neural activity during REM sleep, we simultaneously recorded the activity of multiple neurons in the rat hippocampus during both sleep and awake behavior. We show that temporally sequenced ensemble firing rate patterns reflecting tens of seconds to minutes of behavioral experience are reproduced during REM episodes at an equivalent timescale. Furthermore, within such REM episodes behavior-dependent modulation of the subcortically driven theta rhythm is also reproduced. These results demonstrate that long temporal sequences of patterned multineuronal activity suggestive of episodic memory traces are reactivated during REM sleep. Such reactivation may be important for memory processing and provides a basis for the electrophysiological examination of the content of dream states.

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