Single neuron burst firing in the human hippocampus during sleep

Department of Neurobiology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.
Hippocampus (Impact Factor: 4.16). 01/2002; 12(6):724-34. DOI: 10.1002/hipo.10026
Source: PubMed


Although there are numerous non-primate studies of the single neuron correlates of sleep-related hippocampal EEG patterns, very limited hippocampal neuronal data are available for correlation with human sleep. We recorded human hippocampal single neuron activity in subjects implanted with depth electrodes required for medical diagnosis and quantitatively evaluated discharge activity from each neuron during episodes of wakefulness (Aw), combined stage 3 and 4 slow-wave sleep (SWS), and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The mean firing rate of the population of single neurons was significantly higher during SWS and Aw compared with REM sleep (p = 0.002; p < 0.0001). In addition, burst firing was significantly greater during SWS compared with Aw (p = 0.001) and REM sleep (p < 0.0001). The synchronized state of SWS and associated high-frequency burst discharge found in human hippocampus may subserve functions similar to those reported in non-primate hippocampus that require burst firing to induce synaptic modifications in hippocampal circuitry and in hippocampal projections to neocortical targets that participate in memory consolidation.

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