The fine structure of slow-wave sleep oscillations: from single neurons to large networks.
Alain Destexhe and Diego Contreras

In: Sleep and Anesthesia, Edited by Hutt, A. Springer, New York, pp. 69-105, 2011.

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The cellular bases of slow-wave sleep oscillations have been investigated since the first extracellular and intracellular recordings in mammals. The major brain regions which have been identified are the thalamus and cerebral cortex, which are intimately linked by means of reciprocal projections. The activities of thalamic and cortical neurons during sleep have been largely documented by electrophysiological studies. The cellular mechanisms underlying these oscillations depend on many factors, such as the connectivity and intrinsic properties of the different types of thalamic and cortical neurons. Of great help to understand these cellular mechanisms, is the use of computational models, which are based on experimental data, and if possible, generate predictions to test them. This type of interaction between experimental results and modeling efforts has been quite successful in the (still ongoing) exploration of the mechanisms of sleep oscillations, which this chapter attempts to summarize.