Single-neuron activity and eye movements during human REM sleep and awake vision

Thomas Andrillon, Yuval Nir, Chiara Cirelli, Giulio Tononi, Itzhak Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Are rapid eye movements (REMs) in sleep associated with visual-like activity, as during wakefulness? Here we examine single-unit activities (n=2,057) and intracranial electroencephalography across the human medial temporal lobe (MTL) and neocortex during sleep and wakefulness, and during visual stimulation with fixation. During sleep and wakefulness, REM onsets are associated with distinct intracranial potentials, reminiscent of ponto-geniculate-occipital waves. Individual neurons, especially in the MTL, exhibit reduced firing rates before REMs as well as transient increases in firing rate immediately after, similar to activity patterns observed upon image presentation during fixation without eye movements. Moreover, the selectivity of individual units is correlated with their response latency, such that units activated after a small number of images or REMs exhibit delayed increases in firing rates. Finally, the phase of theta oscillations is similarly reset following REMs in sleep and wakefulness, and after controlled visual stimulation. Our results suggest that REMs during sleep rearrange discrete epochs of visual-like processing as during wakefulness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7884
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • REM sleep
  • wakefulness

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