Ionnides, Andreas A., Kostopoulos, George K., Liu, Linchan and Fenwick, Peter B.C.
MEG identifies dorsal medial brain activations during sleep
Neuroimage, 44, (2), . (doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.09.030).
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All sleep stages contain epochs with high-amplitude electrophysiological phasic events, alternating with quieter “core periods.” High-amplitude and core state properties cannot be disentangled with PET and fMRI. Here from high temporal resolution magnetoencephalography data, regional changes in neuronal activity were extracted during core periods in different frequency bands for each sleep stage and waking. We found that gamma-band activity increases in precuneus during light sleep (stages 1/2) and in the left dorso–medial prefrontal cortex (L-DMPFC) during deep sleep (stages 3/4). The L-DMPFC activated area expands laterally during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, into a volume of about 5 cm3 bounded by regions attributed to Theory of Mind (ToM) and default systems, both involved in introspection. Gamma band activity in this area was higher during REM sleep than other sleep stages and active wakefulness. There is a tantalizing correspondence between increased wide-band activity (dominated by low frequencies) in early non-REM (NREM) sleep stages and increases in gamma-band activity in late NREM and REM periods that we attribute to a lateral disinhibition mechanism. The results provide a description of regional electrophysiological changes in awake state, light and deep sleep, and REM sleep. These changes are most pronounced in the L-DMPFC and the other areas around the dorsal midline that are close to, but do not overlap with areas of the default and ToM systems, suggesting that the DMPFC, particularly in the left hemisphere, plays an important role in late NREM stages, in REM and possibly in dreaming.
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