Sleep spindles are rhythmic patterns of neuronal activity generated within the thalamocortical circuit. Although spindles have been hypothesized to protect sleep by reducing the influence of external stimuli, it remains to be confirmed experimentally whether there is a direct relationship between sleep spindles and the stability of sleep. We have addressed this issue by using in vivo photostimulation of the thalamic reticular nucleus of mice to generate spindle oscillations that are structurally and functionally similar to spontaneous sleep spindles. Such optogenetic generation of sleep spindles increased the duration of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. Furthermore, the density of sleep spindles was correlated with the amount of NREM sleep. These findings establish a causal relationship between sleep spindles and the stability of NREM sleep, strongly supporting a role for the thalamocortical circuit in sleep regulation.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2012 Dec 11|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. This work was supported by grants from Institute for Basic Science, the National Honor Scientist Program of Korea, and the World Class Institute (WCI) Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) (WCI 2009-003) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Korea (MEST) and by a Competitive Research Program grant from the National Research Foundation of Singapore.
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