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Elife. 2016 Nov 15;5. pii: e17267. doi: 10.7554/eLife.17267.

Rotating waves during human sleep spindles organize global patterns of activity that repeat precisely through the night.

Author information

1
Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, United States.
2
Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States.
3
Department of Radiology, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, United States.
4
Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, United States.

Abstract

During sleep, the thalamus generates a characteristic pattern of transient, 11-15 Hz sleep spindle oscillations, which synchronize the cortex through large-scale thalamocortical loops. Spindles have been increasingly demonstrated to be critical for sleep-dependent consolidation of memory, but the specific neural mechanism for this process remains unclear. We show here that cortical spindles are spatiotemporally organized into circular wave-like patterns, organizing neuronal activity over tens of milliseconds, within the timescale for storing memories in large-scale networks across the cortex via spike-time dependent plasticity. These circular patterns repeat over hours of sleep with millisecond temporal precision, allowing reinforcement of the activity patterns through hundreds of reverberations. These results provide a novel mechanistic account for how global sleep oscillations and synaptic plasticity could strengthen networks distributed across the cortex to store coherent and integrated memories.

KEYWORDS:

electrocortiogram; human; neuroscience; sleep oscillations; sleep spindles; spatiotemporal dynamics

PMID:
27855061
PMCID:
PMC5114016
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.17267
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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