Thalamo-cortical and thalamo-thalamic coupling during sleep and wakefulness in rats
SourceBrain Connectivity, (2021)
09 september 2021
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC SMN
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control
Introduction: The thalamus, a heterogeneous brain structure, is involved in the generation of sleep related thalamo-cortical oscillations. Higher-order nuclei might possess a distinct function compared to first-order nuclei in brain communication. Here it is investigated whether this distinction can also be found during the process of falling asleep and deepening of slow-wave-sleep. Methods: A non-linear version of Granger-Causality was used to describe changes in directed network activity between somatosensory-cortex and rostral and caudal reticular-thalamic-nucleus, the higher-order posterior- and anterior- thalamic nuclei and the first-order ventral-postero-medial thalamic nucleus as assessed in LFP recordings acquired during passive-wakefulness (PW), light and deep slow-wave sleep (LSWS, DSWS) in freely behaving rats. Surrogate statistics were used to assess significance. Results: Decreases in cortico-thalamo-cortical couplings were found. In contrast, multiple increases in intrathalamic couplings were observed. In particular, the rostral reticular-thalamic-nucleus (rRTN) increased its inhibition on the anterior (ATN) from PW to LSWS, and this was further strengthened from LSWS to DSWS. The caudal reticular-thalamic-nucleus (cRTN) increased its coupling to VPM and PO from PW to LSWS, but the coupling from cRTN to VPM weakened at the transition from LSWS to DSWS while its coupling to PO strengthened. Furthermore, intra-RTN coupling from PW to LSWS was differently changed compared to the change from LSWS to DSWS. Discussion: It can be inferred that higher-order (ATN and PO) and first-order nuclei (VPM) are differentially inhibited during DSWS, which might be relevant for a proper functioning of sleep related processes.
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