Propagated infra-slow intrinsic brain activity reorganizes across wake and slow wave sleep

Anish Mitra, Abraham Z. Snyder, Enzo Tagliazucchi, Helmut Laufs, Marcus E. Raichle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Propagation of slow intrinsic brain activity has been widely observed in electrophysiogical studies of slow wave sleep (SWS). However, in human resting state fMRI (rs- fMRI), intrinsic activity has been understood predominantly in terms of zero-lag temporal synchrony (functional connectivity) within systems known as resting state networks (RSNs). Prior rs-fMRI studies have found that RSNs are generally preserved across wake and sleep. Here, we use a recently developed analysis technique to study propagation of infra-slow intrinsic blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signals in normal adults during wake and SWS. This analysis reveals marked changes in propagation patterns in SWS vs. wake. Broadly, ordered propagation is preserved within traditionally defined RSNs but lost between RSNs. Additionally, propagation between cerebral cortex and subcortical structures reverses directions, and intra-cortical propagation becomes reorganized, especially in visual and sensorimotor cortices. These findings show that propagated rs-fMRI activity informs theoretical accounts of the neural functions of sleep.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10781
Issue numberNOVEMBER2015
StatePublished - 9 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


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