Slow wave sleep induced by GABA agonist tiagabine fails to benefit memory consolidation

Gordon B. Feld, Ines Wilhelm, Ying Ma, Sabine Groch, Ferdinand Binkofski, Matthias Mölle, Jan Born

48 Citations (Scopus)


Study Objectives: Slow wave sleep (SWS) plays a pivotal role in consolidating memories. Tiagabine has been shown to increase SWS in favor of REM sleep without impacting subjective sleep. However, it is unknown whether this effect is paralleled by an improved sleep-dependent consolidation of memory. Design: This double-blind within-subject crossover study tested sensitivity of overnight retention of declarative neutral and emotional materials (word pairs, pictures) as well as a procedural memory task (sequence finger tapping) to oral administration of placebo or 10 mg tiagabine (at 22:30). Participants: Fourteen healthy young men aged 21.9 years (range 18-28 years). Measurements and Results: Tiagabine significantly increased the time spent in SWS and decreased REM sleep compared to placebo. Tiagabine also enhanced slow wave activity (0.5-4.0 Hz) and density of < 1 Hz slow oscillations during NREM sleep. Fast (12-15 Hz) and slow (9-12 Hz) spindle activity, in particular that occurring phase-locked to the slow oscillation cycle, was decreased following tiagabine. Despite signs of deeper and more SWS, overnight retention of memory tested after sleep the next evening (19:30) was generally not improved after tiagabine, but on average even lower than after placebo, with this impairing effect reaching significance for procedural sequence finger tapping. Conclusions: Our data show that increasing slow wave sleep with tiagabine does not improve memory consolidation. Possibly this is due to functional differences from normal slow wave sleep, i.e., the concurrent suppressive influence of tiagabine on phase-locked spindle activity.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1317-1326
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2013

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-09 Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Slow wave sleep induced by GABA agonist tiagabine fails to benefit memory consolidation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this