Bidirectional Interaction of Hippocampal Ripples and Cortical Slow Waves Leads to Coordinated Spiking Activity During NREM Sleep

Cereb Cortex. 2021 Jan 1;31(1):324-340. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhaa228.


The dialogue between cortex and hippocampus is known to be crucial for sleep-dependent memory consolidation. During slow wave sleep, memory replay depends on slow oscillation (SO) and spindles in the (neo)cortex and sharp wave-ripples (SWRs) in the hippocampus. The mechanisms underlying interaction of these rhythms are poorly understood. We examined the interaction between cortical SO and hippocampal SWRs in a model of the hippocampo-cortico-thalamic network and compared the results with human intracranial recordings during sleep. We observed that ripple occurrence peaked following the onset of an Up-state of SO and that cortical input to hippocampus was crucial to maintain this relationship. A small fraction of ripples occurred during the Down-state and controlled initiation of the next Up-state. We observed that the effect of ripple depends on its precise timing, which supports the idea that ripples occurring at different phases of SO might serve different functions, particularly in the context of encoding the new and reactivation of the old memories during memory consolidation. The study revealed complex bidirectional interaction of SWRs and SO in which early hippocampal ripples influence transitions to Up-state, while cortical Up-states control occurrence of the later ripples, which in turn influence transition to Down-state.

Keywords: NREM sleep; network model; sharp wave-ripple; slow oscillation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory Consolidation / physiology*
  • Neocortex / physiology
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep, Slow-Wave / physiology*
  • Thalamus / physiology