Hippocampo-cortical coupling mediates memory consolidation during sleep


In our latest study, we show that artificially enhancing the temporal coordination between hippocampal sharp wave-ripples and cortical delta waves and spindles leads to the reorganization of cortical networks, an increase in their responsivity during recall, and memory consolidation. This provides the first direct causal evidence for the role of hippocampo-cortical interactions during sleep in memory consolidation.

N. Maingret, G. Girardeau, R. Todorova, M. Goutierre, M. Zugaro (2016). Nature Neuroscience doi:10.1038/nn.4304.

Memory consolidation requires a dialogue between the hippocampus and the cortex, involving local network reorganizations of memory traces. The hippocampus is a central node where information converges and departs, similar to this golden milestone in front of Notre Dame de Paris which serves as the central reference for French roads. In turn, the cortex can serve as a vast storage space for long term memory traces, akin to the myriads of cobblestones of the surrounding forecourt. The dark blue shades of twilight remind us that these processes take place during sleep. The hippocampo-cortical dialogue ensures enduring remote memories, as symbolized by the 853 year old cathedral.