The consolidation of motor sequence learning is known to depend on sleep. Work in our laboratory and others have shown that the striatum is associated with this off-line consolidation process. In this study, we aimed to quantify the sleep-dependent dynamic changes occurring at the network level using a measure of functional integration. We directly compared changes in connectivity before and after sleep or the simple passage of daytime. As predicted, the results revealed greater integration within the cortico-striatal network after sleep, but not an equivalent daytime period. Importantly, a similar pattern of results was also observed using a data-driven approach; the increase in integration being specific to a cortico-striatal network, but not to other known functional networks. These findings reveal, for the first time, a new signature of motor sequence consolidation: a greater between-regions interaction within the cortico-striatal system.
Keywords: Consolidation; Functional connectivity; Motor learning; Networks; Sleep; fMRI.
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