Sleep-like changes in neural processing emerge during sleep deprivation in early auditory cortex

Amit Marmelshtein, Anabel Eckerling, Barak Hadad, Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu, Yuval Nir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Insufficient sleep is commonplace in modern lifestyle and can lead to grave outcomes, yet the changes in neuronal activity accumulating over hours of extended wakefulness remain poorly understood. Specifically, which aspects of cortical processing are affected by sleep deprivation (SD), and whether they also affect early sensory regions, remain unclear. Here, we recorded spiking activity in the rat auditory cortex along with polysomnography while presenting sounds during SD followed by recovery sleep. We found that frequency tuning, onset responses, and spontaneous firing rates were largely unaffected by SD. By contrast, SD decreased entrainment to rapid (≥20 Hz) click trains, increased population synchrony, and increased the prevalence of sleep-like stimulus-induced silent periods, even when ongoing activity was similar. Recovery NREM sleep was associated with similar effects as SD with even greater magnitude, while auditory processing during REM sleep was similar to vigilant wakefulness. Our results show that processes akin to those in NREM sleep invade the activity of cortical circuits during SD, even in the early sensory cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2925-2940.e6
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number14
StatePublished - 24 Jul 2023


  • A1
  • NREM
  • OFF periods
  • REM
  • click trains
  • frequency tuning
  • rat
  • sensory
  • state-dependent


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