System consolidation during sleep - a common principle underlying psychological and immunological memory formation

Trends Neurosci. 2015 Oct;38(10):585-597. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2015.07.007.


Sleep benefits the consolidation of psychological memory, and there are hints that sleep likewise supports immunological memory formation. Comparing psychological and immunological domains, we make the case for active system consolidation that is similarly established in both domains and partly conveyed by the same sleep-associated processes. In the psychological domain, neuronal reactivation of declarative memory during slow-wave sleep (SWS) promotes the redistribution of representations initially stored in hippocampal circuitry to extra-hippocampal circuitry for long-term storage. In the immunological domain, SWS seems to favor the redistribution of antigenic memories initially held by antigen-presenting cells, to persisting T cells serving as a long-term store. Because storage capacities are limited in both systems, system consolidation presumably reduces information by abstracting 'gist' for long-term storage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / physiology*
  • Memory Consolidation / physiology
  • Sleep / physiology*