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Cortical activation during REM sleep and its function


  • Pierre-Hervé Luppi (PI)
  • Patrice Fort (PI)
  • Renato Maciel (Post-Doc, Brazil)
  • Dianru Wang (PhD, China)
  • Jiong Liu (PhD, China)


cerebral cortex; retrosplenial cortex; anterior cingulate cortex; dentate gyrus; hippocampus; memory; learning; mood

Interest and on-going projects

Our recent works showed that few limbic cortical structures (such as the anterior cingulate or retrosplenial cortices) including the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus are strongly activated during REM sleep (hypertext link to Renouard et al., 2015). Our hypothesis is that this cortical activation during REM sleep may contribute to memory consolidation and the setting up of new behavioral strategies, as well as to the regulation of mood and emotion.

To test such hypothesis, we examine at the cellular level whether learning/memory tasks or mood modifications may induce the activation during REM sleep of cortical neurons not activated in basal conditions. To this aim, we expose to different behavioral paradigms TRAP2-Red mice (hypertext link to Allen et al., 2018), an innovative transgenic model allowing, under tamoxifen treatment, the permanent expression of both cre-recombinase and the reporter protein mCherry in c-Fos expressing (TRAPed) neurons during a given behavioral task.

In TRAP2-red mice, we combine automatic REM sleep deprivation/recovery procedures with previous exposure to learning tasks such as contextual fear conditioning, running wheel motor learning, Morris water maze or to chronic stress.

As TRAPed neurons express cre-recombinase, we plan to study their activity and role by combining such REM sleep protocols with calcium imaging, chemo- and optogenetics and tract tracing with retroAAVs. By this mean, we will able to provide key information about the cortical activation during REM sleep specific to few limbic structures as well as the functional role of this particular sleep state in behavior.




  • Monique, Esclapez- Lab, University of Marseille, France