Article thumbnail

Large-Scale Cortical Dynamics of Sleep Slow Waves

By Vicente Botella-Soler, Mario Valderrama, Benoît Crépon, Vincent Navarro and Michel Le Van Quyen


Slow waves constitute the main signature of sleep in the electroencephalogram (EEG). They reflect alternating periods of neuronal hyperpolarization and depolarization in cortical networks. While recent findings have demonstrated their functional role in shaping and strengthening neuronal networks, a large-scale characterization of these two processes remains elusive in the human brain. In this study, by using simultaneous scalp EEG and intracranial recordings in 10 epileptic subjects, we examined the dynamics of hyperpolarization and depolarization waves over a large extent of the human cortex. We report that both hyperpolarization and depolarization processes can occur with two different characteristic time durations which are consistent across all subjects. For both hyperpolarization and depolarization waves, their average speed over the cortex was estimated to be approximately 1 m/s. Finally, we characterized their propagation pathways by studying the preferential trajectories between most involved intracranial contacts. For both waves, although single events could begin in almost all investigated sites across the entire cortex, we found that the majority of the preferential starting locations were located in frontal regions of the brain while they had a tendency to end in posterior and temporal regions

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central

Suggested articles


  1. (1993). A novel slow (,1 Hz) oscillation of neocortical neurons in vivo: depolarizing and hyperpolarizing components.
  2. (2001). Atlas, rules, and recording techniques for the scoring of cyclic alternating pattern (CAP) in human sleep.
  3. (1997). Borbely AA
  4. (2000). Cellular and network mechanisms of rhythmic recurrent activity in neocortex.
  5. (1988). Co-planar stereotaxic atlas of the human brain: 3-dimensional proportional system: an approach to cerebral imaging.
  6. (2000). Destexhe A
  7. (2005). Dynamics of the EEG slow-wave synchronization during sleep.
  8. (1998). Electrophysiological correlates of sleep delta waves. Electroencephalography and clinical neurophysiology 107(2):
  9. (2006). Integration and segregation of activity in entorhinal-hippocampal subregions by neocortical slow oscillations.
  10. (2005). Internal dynamics determine the cortical response to thalamic stimulation.
  11. (1993). Intracellular analysis of relations between the slow (,1 Hz) neocortical oscillation and other sleep rhythms of the electroencephalogram.
  12. (2008). Is sleep essential?
  13. (2010). Laminar analysis of slow wave activity in humans.
  14. (2004). Local sleep and learning.
  15. (1996). Low-frequency rhythms in the thalamus of intactcortex and decorticated cats.
  16. (2010). Mirrored Bilateral Slow-Wave Cortical Activity within Local Circuits Revealed by Fast Bihemispheric Voltage-Sensitive Dye Imaging in Anesthetized and Awake Mice.
  17. (2005). Modeling sleep and wakefulness in the thalamocortical system.
  18. (1993). Nunez A
  19. (1962). On estimation of a probability density function and mode. The annals of mathematical statistics 33(3): 1065–1076.
  20. (2000). Origin of slow cortical oscillations in deafferented cortical slabs.
  21. (2006). Precise long-range synchronization of activity and silence in neocortical neurons during slow-wave sleep.
  22. (2011). Regional Slow Waves and Spindles in Human Sleep.
  23. (1995). Short-and long-range neuronal synchronization of the slow (,1 Hz) cortical oscillation.
  24. (2006). Sleep function and synaptic homeostasis. Sleep medicine reviews 10:
  25. (2007). Sleep homeostasis and cortical synchronization: I. Modeling the effects of synaptic strength on sleep slow waves.
  26. (2007). Sleep homeostasis and cortical synchronization: III. A high-density EEG study of sleep slow waves in humans.
  27. (2009). Source modeling sleep slow waves.
  28. (2007). Thalamocortical Up states: differential effects of intrinsic and extrinsic cortical inputs on persistent activity.
  29. (2006). The emergence of up and down states in cortical networks.
  30. (2009). The human K-complex represents an isolated cortical down-state.
  31. (2010). The memory function of sleep.
  32. (2004). The sleep slow oscillation as a traveling wave.
  33. (2010). The slow (,1 Hz) rhythm of non-REM sleep: a dialogue between three cardinal oscillators.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.