Sleep abnormality often accompanies the impairment of cognitive function. Both rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM) sleep have associated with improved memory performance. However, the role of composition in NREM sleep, consisting of light and deep NREM, for memory formation is not fully understood. We investigated how the dynamics of NREM sleep states influence memory consolidation. Thalamocortical (TC) neuron-specific phospholipase C β4 (PLCβ4) knockout (KO) increased the total duration of NREM sleep, consisting of destabilized light NREM and stabilized deep NREM. Surprisingly, the longer NREM sleep did not improve memory consolidation but rather impaired it in TC-specific PLCβ4 KO mice. Memory function was positively correlated with the stability of light NREM and spindle activity occurring in maintained light NREM period. Our study suggests that a single molecule, PLCβ4, in TC neurons is critical for tuning the NREM sleep states and thus affects sleep-dependent memory formation.
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