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Sleep slow-wave activity reveals developmental changes in experience-dependent plasticity


Wilhelm, Ines; Kurth, Salomé; Ringli, Maya; Mouthon, Anne-Laure; Buchmann, Andreas; Geiger, Anja; Jenni, Oskar G; Huber, Reto (2014). Sleep slow-wave activity reveals developmental changes in experience-dependent plasticity. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(37):12568-12575.

Abstract

Experience-dependent plasticity, the ability of the brain to constantly adapt to an ever-changing environment, has been suggested to be highest during childhood and to decline thereafter. However, empirical evidence for this is rather scarce. Slow-wave activity (SWA; EEG activity of 1-4.5 Hz) during deep sleep can be used as a marker of experience-dependent plasticity. For example, performing a visuomotor adaptation task in adults increased SWA during subsequent sleep over a locally restricted region of the right parietal cortex, which is known to be involved in visuomotor adaptation. Here, we investigated whether local experience-dependent changes in SWA vary as a function of brain maturation. Three age groups (children, adolescents, and adults) participated in a high-density EEG study with two conditions (baseline and adaptation) of a visuomotor learning task. Compared with the baseline condition, sleep SWA was increased after visuomotor adaptation in a cluster of eight electrodes over the right parietal cortex. The local boost in SWA was highest in children. Baseline SWA in the parietal cluster and right parietal gray matter volume, which both indicate region-specific maturation, were significantly correlated with the local increase in SWA. Our findings indicate that processes of brain maturation favor experience-dependent plasticity and determine how sensitive a specific brain region is for learning experiences. Moreover, our data confirm that SWA is a highly sensitive tool to map maturational differences in experience-dependent plasticity.

Abstract

Experience-dependent plasticity, the ability of the brain to constantly adapt to an ever-changing environment, has been suggested to be highest during childhood and to decline thereafter. However, empirical evidence for this is rather scarce. Slow-wave activity (SWA; EEG activity of 1-4.5 Hz) during deep sleep can be used as a marker of experience-dependent plasticity. For example, performing a visuomotor adaptation task in adults increased SWA during subsequent sleep over a locally restricted region of the right parietal cortex, which is known to be involved in visuomotor adaptation. Here, we investigated whether local experience-dependent changes in SWA vary as a function of brain maturation. Three age groups (children, adolescents, and adults) participated in a high-density EEG study with two conditions (baseline and adaptation) of a visuomotor learning task. Compared with the baseline condition, sleep SWA was increased after visuomotor adaptation in a cluster of eight electrodes over the right parietal cortex. The local boost in SWA was highest in children. Baseline SWA in the parietal cluster and right parietal gray matter volume, which both indicate region-specific maturation, were significantly correlated with the local increase in SWA. Our findings indicate that processes of brain maturation favor experience-dependent plasticity and determine how sensitive a specific brain region is for learning experiences. Moreover, our data confirm that SWA is a highly sensitive tool to map maturational differences in experience-dependent plasticity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:10 September 2014
Deposited On:17 Nov 2014 15:52
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 17:32
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
ISSN:0270-6474
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0962-14.2014
PubMed ID:25209294

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