Local Cortical Activations During REM Sleep and Implications for RBD

  • Paola Proserpio
  • Michele Terzaghi
  • Lino NobiliEmail author


Different neuroimaging and intracerebral EEG studies have shown that brain activity during physiologic REM sleep in humans is not temporally and spatially homogeneous. Indeed, some brain regions (i.e., motor cortex, visual and limbic system) show a transient activation, especially concomitant with the occurrence of rapid eye movements (phasic REM sleep). This finding may help clarify cortical contributions to several phenomenological aspects observed in REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). Indeed, the actual role of brainstem and cortical networks in generating movements and dream-enacting behavior is discussed, and different hypotheses on the involvement and relationship of cortical and subcortical brain structures have been postulated. Local activations and variations in cortical background rhythms during REM sleep support an active role of the cortical areas in the genesis of RBD manifestations. An articulated model keeping into account both cortical and brainstem circuitry can be hypothesized.


Phasic REM sleep Tonic REM sleep Motor cortex Visual system Brainstem Local activation Bottom-up hypothesis Top-down hypothesis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Proserpio
    • 1
  • Michele Terzaghi
    • 2
  • Lino Nobili
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Epilepsy Surgery, Centre of Sleep Medicine, Niguarda HospitalMilanItaly
  2. 2.DINOGMI, Department of Neuroscience, University of GenoaGenoaItaly
  3. 3.Sleep and Epilepsy UnitIRCCS C. Mondino, National Institute of Neurology FoundationPaviaItaly

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