Menicucci, D., Lunghi, C., Zaccaro, A., Morrone, M. C., & Gemignani, A.
Mutual interaction between visual homeostatic plasticity and sleep in adult humans
ELife, 11, e70633
Sleep and plasticity are highly interrelated, as sleep slow oscillations and sleep spindles are associated with consolidation of Hebbian-based processes. However, in adult humans, visual cortical plasticity is mainly sustained by homeostatic mechanisms, for which the role of sleep is still largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that non-REM sleep stabilizes homeostatic plasticity of ocular dominance induced in adult humans by short-term monocular deprivation: the counterintuitive and otherwise transient boost of the deprived eye was preserved at the morning awakening (>6 hr after deprivation). Subjects exhibiting a stronger boost of the deprived eye after sleep had increased sleep spindle density in frontopolar electrodes, suggesting the involvement of distributed processes. Crucially, the individual susceptibility to visual homeostatic plasticity soon after deprivation correlated with the changes in sleep slow oscillations and spindle power in occipital sites, consistent with a modulation in early occipital visual cortex.