Sleep enhances memory consolidation in the hippocampus-dependent object-place recognition task in rats

Sonja Binder, Paul Christian Baier, Matthias Mölle, Marion Inostroza, Jan Born, Lisa Marshall


    The positive impact of sleep on memory consolidation has been shown for human subjects in numerous studies, but there is still sparse knowledge on this topic in rats, one of the most prominent model species in neuroscience research. Here, we examined the role of sleep in the object-place recognition task, a task closely comparable to tasks typically applied for testing human declarative memory: It is a one-trial task, hippocampus-dependent, not stressful and can be repeated within the same animal. A test session consisted of the Sample trial, followed by a 2-h retention interval and a Test trial, the latter examining the memory the rat had for the places of two objects presented at the Sample trial. In Experiment 1, each rat was tested twice, with the retention interval taking place either in the morning or evening, i.e., in the inactive or active phase, respectively. Rats showed significantly (p<0.01) better memory for object place after the Morning session. To control for confounding circadian factors, in Experiment 2 rats were tested four times, i.e., in the morning or in the evening while sleep was or was not deprived. Sleep during the retention interval was recorded polysomnographically. Rats only showed significant memory for the target object place in the Test trial after the Morning retention interval in the absence of sleep deprivation, and recognition performance in this condition was significantly superior to that in the three other conditions (p<0.05). EEG recordings during spontaneous morning sleep revealed increased slow oscillation (0.85-2.0 Hz) and upper delta (2.0-4.0 Hz), but reduced spindle band (10.5-13.5 Hz) activity, as compared to evening sleep. However, spindle band power was increased in the Morning retention interval in comparison to a Morning Baseline period (p<0.05). We conclude that consolidation of object-place memory depends on sleep, and presumably requires NonREM sleep rich in both slow wave and spindle activity.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)213-9
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 02.2012


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