Oct 6, 2016

The Function of REM Sleep: Implications from Transgenic Mouse Models

Brain and nerve = Shinkei kenkyū no shinpo
Mitsuaki Kashiwagi, Yu Hayashi

Abstract

Our sleep is composed of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM (NREM) sleep. REM sleep is the major source of dreams, whereas synchronous cortical oscillations, called slow waves, are observed during NREM sleep. Both stages are unique to certain vertebrate species, and therefore, REM and NREM sleep are thought to be involved in higher-order brain functions. While several studies have revealed the importance of NREM sleep in growth hormone secretion, memory consolidation and brain metabolite clearance, the functions of REM sleep are currently almost totally unknown. REM sleep functions cannot be easily indicated from classical REM sleep deprivation experiments, where animals are forced to wake up whenever they enter REM sleep, because such experiments produce extreme stress due to the stimuli and because REM sleep is under strong homeostatic regulation. To overcome these issues, we developed a novel transgenic mouse model in which REM sleep can be manipulated. Using these mice, we found that REM sleep enhances slow wave activity during the subsequent NREM sleep. Slow wave activity is known to contribute to memory consolidation and synaptic plasticity. Thus, REM sleep might be involved in higher-order brain functions through...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Vertebrates
Insufficient Sleep Syndrome
Study
Wake Ups
Dreams
Sleep, Slow-Wave
Neurons
Brain
Gammalon
Neuronal Plasticity

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