Sound disrupts sleep-associated brain oscillations in rodents in a meaning-dependent manner
van Kronenberg P., Milinski L., Kruschke Z., de Hoz L.
AbstractSleep is essential but places animals at risk. Filtering acoustic information according to its relevance, a process generally known as sensory gating, is crucial during sleep to ensure a balance between rest and danger detection. The mechanisms of this sensory gating and its specificity are not understood. Here, we tested the effect that sounds of different meaning have on sleep-associated ongoing oscillations. We recorded EEG and EMG from mice during REM and NREM sleep while presenting sounds with or without behavioural relevance. We found that sound presentation per se, in the form of a neutral sound, elicited a weak or no change in the power of sleep-state-dependent EEG during REM and NREM sleep. In contrast, the presentation of a sound previously conditioned in an aversive task, elicited a clear and fast decrease in the EEG power during both sleep phases, suggesting a transition to lighter sleep without awakening. The observed changes generally weakened over training days and were not present in animals that failed to learn. Interestingly, the effect could be generalized to unfamiliar neutral sounds if presented following conditioned training, an effect that depended on sleep phase and sound type. The data demonstrate that sounds are differentially gated during sleep depending on their meaning and that this process is reflected in disruption of sleep-associated brain oscillations without behavioural arousal.