Same brain cells active during sleep and exploration in mice

Same brain cells active during sleep and exploration in mice
Average fluorescence in MCH neurons is highest during REM sleep and exploratory behavior. Credit: Blanco-Centurion et al., JNeurosci (2019)

Researchers have mapped the activity of individual neurons deep in the brain during sleep and exploration of novel objects in male and female mice. The study, published in JNeurosci, suggests these cells may facilitate memory formation.

Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) are active during rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, when dreaming—and perhaps memory consolidation—occurs. Carlos Blanco, Priyattam Shiromani, and colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina and Yale University School of Medicine report 70 percent of MCH neurons that were strongly activated during REM sleep were also active when mice explored interesting objects like a binder clip or a bottle cap.

By recording the activity of pairs of MCH neurons, the researchers revealed a pattern of single -cell activity that could be used to compare the function of this network across different states of health and disease. Additionally, because all have these cells, future studies of MCH neurons in animals beyond mammals and birds may identify REM sleep in diverse species.

Explore further

Why does sleep become disrupted in old age?

More information: JNeurosci (2019). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0305-19.2019
Journal information: Journal of Neuroscience

Citation: Same brain cells active during sleep and exploration in mice (2019, April 29) retrieved 17 August 2022 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors