Impact of the thalamus on slow wave activity during sleep in patients with stroke

Takeaway

  • The thalamus may play a central role in synaptic renormalization in patients with thalamic stroke and that restoration during sleep is impaired after thalamic stroke.

Why this matters

  • The effects of stroke, such as excessive daytime sleepiness and cognitive impairments, and their severity may depend on synaptic plasticity, which has been linked to sleep.

  • During sleep a process called synaptic renormalization occurs, which refers to the overall reduction of synaptic strength. This is important for restoring the brain’s learning capacity and proper cognitive function during wakefulness.

  • Changes in synaptic strength are reflected as slow wave activity (SWA) during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, which can be analyzed to measure the effects of sleep after stroke.

  • The thalamus has demonstrated to be important for SWA, but its contribution to synaptic plasticity during sleep is unknown, particularly in patients with stroke.