Behavioral States Modulate Sensory Processing in Early Development
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Purpose of Review
Sleep-wake states modulate cortical activity in adults. In infants, however, such modulation is less clear; indeed, early cortical activity comprises bursts of neural activity driven predominantly by peripheral sensory input. Consequently, in many studies of sensory development in rodents, sensory processing has been carefully investigated, but the modulatory role of behavioral state has typically been ignored.
In the developing visual and somatosensory systems, it is now known that sleep and wake states modulate sensory processing. Further, in both systems, the nature of this modulation shifts rapidly during the second postnatal week, with subcortical nuclei changing how they gate sensory inputs.
The interactions among sleep and wake movements, sensory processing, and development are dynamic and complex. Now that established methods exist to record neural activity in unanesthetized infant animals, we can provide a more comprehensive understanding of how infant sleep-wake states interact with sensory-driven responses to promote developmental plasticity.
KeywordsCortical development REM sleep Activity-dependent development Movement Visual system Somatosensory system
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
James C. Dooley, Greta Sokoloff, and Mark S. Blumberg each declare no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
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