Short-term memory deficits correlate with hippocampal-thalamic functional connectivity alterations following acute sleep restriction
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Acute sleep restriction heavily influences cognitive function, affecting executive processes such as attention, response inhibition, and memory. Previous neuroimaging studies have suggested a link between hippocampal activity and short-term memory function. However, the specific contribution of the hippocampus to the decline of short-term memory following sleep restriction has yet to be established. In the current study, we utilized resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the association between hippocampal functional connectivity (FC) and the decline of short-term memory following total sleep deprivation (TSD). Twenty healthy adult males aged 20.9 ± 2.3 years (age range, 18–24 years) were enrolled in a within-subject crossover study. Short-term memory and FC were assessed using a Delay-matching short-term memory test and a resting-state fMRI scan before and after TSD. Seed-based correlation analysis was performed using fMRI data for the left and right hippocampus to identify differences in hippocampal FC following TSD. Subjects demonstrated reduced alertness and a decline in short-term memory performance following TSD. Moreover, fMRI analysis identified reduced hippocampal FC with the superior frontal gyrus (SFG), temporal regions, and supplementary motor area. In addition, an increase in FC between the hippocampus and bilateral thalamus was observed, the extent of which correlated with short-term memory performance following TSD. Our findings indicate that the disruption of hippocampal–cortical connectivity is linked to the decline in short-term memory observed after acute sleep restriction. Such results provide further evidence that support the cognitive impairment model of sleep deprivation.
KeywordsSleep deprivation Hippocampus Thalamus Memory Functional connectivity
Compliance with ethical standards
This work was supported by the National Military Science Foundation of China, No. AWS14J011.
Conflict of interest
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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