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Hippocampal ripples down-regulate synapses

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Science  08 Feb 2018:
eaao0702
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao0702

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Abstract

The functions of sleep for synaptic plasticity remain elusive. We report that mouse hippocampal sharp wave/ripple oscillations serve as intrinsic events that trigger long-lasting synaptic depression. Silencing of sharp waves/ripples during slow-wave states prevented the spontaneous downregulation of net synaptic weights and impaired the learning of new memories. The synaptic downregulation was N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor-dependent and input pathway-selective. Thus, our findings are consistent with the role of slow-wave states in refining memory engrams by reducing recent memory-irrelevant neuronal activity and suggest a new role for sharp waves/ripples.

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