CRC 654: Plasticity and Sleep

  • Born, Jan (Speaker, Coordinator)

    Project: DFG ProjectsDFG Joint Research: Collaborative Research Center/ Transregios

    Project Details


    The general hypothesis of the Collaborative Research Centre is that sleep promotes adaptive plastic processes, i.e., processes of memory formation that enable a long-term stable regulation within different functional organ systems under changing environmental conditions. The function of sleep is largely unknown so far. Recent research has pointed out a fundamental role that sleep might play for the consolidation and formation of long-term memories.
    Memory formation is viewed as a general biological process that takes place in all organ systems, which do not only acutely respond to stimuli (stressors) but adapt and develop long-term response strategies to these stimuli. Accordingly, memory is formed not only in the brain, for events experienced during wakefulness, but also in other systems, like the immune system forming memories for specific antigens, and the metabolic system which has to adapt to changing conditions of energy supply.
    The research of this Collaborative Research Centre investigates the plastic mechanisms underlying memory formation during sleep in all these systems, i.e., the neurobehavioral system, the metabolic system and the immune system. It is assumed that sleep-associated memory formation represents an active process that partly relies on a covert reactivation of the stimuli and stressors experienced during the wake phase. Moreover, it is assumed that sleep activates specific key signals that support memory formation in parallel in all three systems of interest. Sleep provides optimal conditions for memory formation since during this phase interference from environmental stimuli and a potential disruption of underlying plastic processes is minimised.
    On this background, the Collaborative Research Centre pursues three long-term goals:
    - It is intended to show that sleep reinforces memory consolidation in all three systems of interest.
    - It is intended to elucidate the plastic mechanisms underlying memory formation during sleep.
    - Sleep medical therapeutic strategies shall be developed which enable a more efficient treatment of a great variety of diseases (e.g., schizophrenia, obesity, sleep apnea) that involve alterations of memory formation in one of the systems of interest.
    Effective start/end date01.01.0531.12.17

    UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

    Research Areas and Centers

    • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)
    • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)

    DFG Research Classification Scheme

    • 204-05 Immunology
    • 206-04 Cognitive, Systemic and Behavioural Neurobiology