Sleep accelerates re-stabilization of human declarative memories.


Unidad Ejecutora de Estudios de Neurociencias y Sistemas Complejos, CONICET, Universidad Nacional Arturo Jauretche, Hospital de Alta Complejidad en Red El Cruce "Néstor Kirchner", Florencio Varela, Argentina. Electronic address: [Email]


Consolidated memories can return to a labile state upon presentation of a reminder, followed by a period of re-stabilization known as reconsolidation. This period can take several hours, and if an amnesic agent (e.g. new learning) is administered inside the time window of reconsolidation (when the memory is still labile) the memory is impaired, whereas the memory remains unaffected if the amnesic agent is administered outside this time window. Sleep plays a fundamental role in the consolidation and integration of new memories, and recently sleep has also been implicated in memory reconsolidation. Here, we studied the role of sleep in accelerating the reconsolidation time window. On day 1, participants learned a list of syllable-pairs (List 1). On day 2, they received a reminder, followed by interference learning (List 2) administered either after 90 min of wakefulness, after 90 min of sleep, or after 10 h of wakefulness. On day 3, participants had to recall List 1 first, followed by List 2, and we assessed the Retrieval-Induced-Forgetting Effect (RIF) on List 2 as a measure of List 1 memory stability. We found that the 90 min sleep group showed an intact RIF effect similar to the 10 h wake group, reflecting stable List 1 memory after 90 min of sleep and after 10 h of wakefulness. However, the RIF effect was absent after 90 min of wakefulness, suggesting that the List 1 memory was still labile at that time. Moreover, the RIF effect in the 90 min sleep group was associated with power density in the slow oscillation frequency band (0.5-1 Hz) during SWS and S2. These findings suggest that 90 min of sleep accelerate memory re-stabilization after reminder presentation, shortening the reconsolidation time window and protecting the memory against subsequent interference. This rapid memory re-stabilization may depend on slow oscillation activity during NREM sleep.


Declarative memory,Interference,Reconsolidation,Sleep,Slow wave activity,