Cortical reactivations during sleep spindles following declarative learning

Aude Jegou, Manuel Schabus, Olivia Gosseries, Brigitte Dahmen, Geneviève Albouy, Martin Desseilles, Virginie Sterpenich, Christophe Phillips, Pierre Maquet, Christophe Grova, Thien Thanh Dang-Vu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Increasing evidence suggests that sleep spindles are involved in memory consolidation, but few studies have investigated the effects of learning on brain responses associated with spindles in humans. Here we used simultaneous electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during sleep to assess haemodynamic brain responses related to spindles after learning. Twenty young healthy participants were scanned with EEG/fMRI during (i) a declarative memory face sequence learning task, (ii) subsequent sleep, and (iii) recall after sleep (learning night). As a control condition an identical EEG/fMRI scanning protocol was performed after participants over-learned the face sequence task to complete mastery (control night). Results demonstrated increased responses in the fusiform gyrus both during encoding before sleep and during successful recall after sleep, in the learning night compared to the control night. During sleep, a larger response in the fusiform gyrus was observed in the presence of fast spindles during the learning as compared to the control night. Our findings support a cortical reactivation during fast spindles of brain regions previously involved in declarative learning and subsequently activated during memory recall, thereby promoting the cortical consolidation of memory traces.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)104-112
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019


    • Adult
    • Cerebral Cortex/physiology
    • Electroencephalography
    • Female
    • Humans
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    • Male
    • Memory Consolidation/physiology
    • Mental Recall/physiology
    • Sleep Stages/physiology
    • Young Adult


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