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Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 12;7:46247. doi: 10.1038/srep46247.

Auditory conditioned stimulus presentation during NREM sleep impairs fear memory in mice.

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Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, Oxford, OX1 3RE, UK.
International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1, Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8575, Japan.


Externally manipulating memories by presenting conditioned stimuli (CS) during sleep is a new approach to investigating memory processing during sleep. However, whether presenting a CS during REM or NREM sleep enhances or extinguishes fear memory has not been clearly delineated. In this study, mice underwent trace fear conditioning consisting of an auditory CS paired with a foot shock, and the auditory CS was re-presented during subsequent REM or NREM sleep. Mice that received auditory cueing during NREM but not REM sleep showed impaired fear memory upon later presentation of the auditory CS. These findings have implications for the use of cueing during sleep and advance our understanding of the role of REM and NREM sleep in memory consolidation.

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