Sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation through the facilitation of neuronal plasticity; however, how sleep accomplishes this remains to be completely understood. It has previously been demonstrated that neural oscillations are an intrinsic mechanism by which the brain precisely controls neural ensembles. Inter-regional synchronization of these oscillations is also known to facilitate long-range communication and long-term potentiation (LTP). In the present study, we investigated how the characteristic rhythms found in local field potentials (LFPs) during non-REM and REM sleep play a role in emotional memory consolidation. Chronically implanted bipolar electrodes in the lateral amygdala (LA), dorsal and ventral hippocampus (DH, VH), and the infra-limbic (IL) and pre-limbic (PL) prefrontal cortex were used to record LFPs across sleep-wake activity following each day of a Pavlovian cued fear conditioning paradigm. This resulted in three principle findings: (1) theta rhythms during REM sleep are highly synchronized between regions; (2) the extent of inter-regional synchronization during REM and non-REM sleep is altered by FC and EX; (3) the mean phase difference of synchronization between the LA and VH during REM sleep predicts changes in freezing after cued fear extinction. These results both oppose a currently proposed model of sleep-dependent memory consolidation and provide a novel finding which suggests that the role of REM sleep theta rhythms in memory consolidation may rely more on the relative phase-shift between neural oscillations, rather than the extent of phase synchronization.
Totty, M. S., Chesney, L. A., Geist, P. A., & Datta, S. (2017). Sleep-Dependent Oscillatory Synchronization: A Role in Fear Memory Consolidation. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncir.2017.00049