Selection of stimulus parameters for enhancing slow wave sleep events with a neural-field theory thalamocortical model



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Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia de Valparaiso




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Slow-wave sleep cortical brain activity, conformed by slow-oscillations and sleep spindles, plays a key role in memory consolidation. The increase of the power of the slow-wave events, obtained by auditory sensory stimulation, positively correlates with memory consolidation performance. However, little is known about the experimental protocol maximizing this effect, which could be induced by the power of slow-oscillation, the number of sleep spindles, or the timing of both events’ co-occurrence. Using a mean-field model of thalamocortical activity, we studied the effect of several stimulation protocols, varying the pulse shape, duration, amplitude, and frequency, as well as a target-phase using a closed-loop approach. We evaluated the effect of these parameters on slow-oscillations (SO) and sleepspindles (SP), considering: (i) the power at the frequency bands of interest, (ii) the number of SO and SP, (iii) co-occurrences between SO and SP, and (iv) synchronization of SP with the up-peak of the SO. The first three targets are maximized using a decreasing ramp pulse with a pulse duration of 50 ms. Also, we observed a reduction in the number of SO when increasing the stimulus energy by rising its amplitude. To assess the target-phase parameter, we applied closed-loop stimulation at 0 ̊, 45 ̊, and 90 ̊ of the phase of the narrow-band filtered ongoing activity, at 0.85 Hz as central frequency. The 0 ̊ stimulation produces better results in the power and number of SO and SP than the rhythmic or random stimulation. On the other hand, stimulating at 45 ̊ or 90 ̊ change the timing distribution of spindles centers but with fewer co-occurrences than rhythmic and 0 ̊ phase. Finally, we propose the application of closed-loop stimulation at the rising zero-cross point using pulses with a decreasing ramp shape and 50 ms of duration for future experimental work.


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© 2021 Torres et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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