alexa Altered processing of acoustic stimuli during sleep: reduced auditory activation and visual deactivation detected by a combined fMRI EEG study.


Journal of Electrical & Electronic Systems

Author(s): Czisch M, Wetter TC, Kaufmann C, Pollmcher T, Holsboer F, Auer DP

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Although there is evidence that acoustic stimuli are processed differently during sleep and wakefulness, little is known about the underlying neuronal mechanisms. In the present study, the processing of an acoustic stimulus was investigated during different non rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stages using a combined EEG/fMRI approach in healthy human volunteers: A text stimulus was presented to sleep-deprived subjects prior to and after the onset of sleep, and single-slice silent fMRI were acquired. We found significantly different blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) contrast responses during sleep compared to wakefulness. During NREM sleep stages 1 and 2 and during slow wave sleep (SWS) we observed reduced activation in the auditory cortex and a pronounced negative signal in the visual cortex and precuneus. Acoustic stimulation during sleep was accompanied by an increase in EEG frequency components in the low delta frequency range. Provided that neurovascular coupling is not altered during sleep, the negative transmodal BOLD response which is most pronounced during NREM sleep stages 1 and 2 reflects a deactivation predominantly in the visual cortex suggesting that this decrease in neuronal activity protects the brain from the arousing effects of external stimulation during sleep not only in the primary targeted sensory cortex but also in other brain regions.

This article was published in Neuroimage and referenced in Journal of Electrical & Electronic Systems

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