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Slow sleep spindle and procedural memory consolidation in patients with major depressive disorder

Authors Nishida M, Nakashima Y, Nishikawa T

Received 11 November 2015

Accepted for publication 23 December 2015

Published 28 January 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 63—72

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S100337

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven Shea

Masaki Nishida,1 Yusaku Nakashima,2 Toru Nishikawa1

1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Yushima, Bunkyo, 2Medical Technology Research Laboratory, Research and Development Division, Medical Business Unit, Sony Corporation, Tokyo, Japan

Introduction: Evidence has accumulated, which indicates that, in healthy individuals, sleep enhances procedural memory consolidation, and that sleep spindle activity modulates this process. However, whether sleep-dependent procedural memory consolidation occurs in patients medicated for major depressive disorder remains unclear, as are the pharmacological and physiological mechanisms that underlie this process.
Methods: Healthy control participants (n=17) and patients medicated for major depressive disorder (n=11) were recruited and subjected to a finger-tapping motor sequence test (MST; nondominant hand) paradigm to compare the averaged scores of different learning phases (presleep, postsleep, and overnight improvement). Participants' brain activity was recorded during sleep with 16 electroencephalography channels (between MSTs). Sleep scoring and frequency analyses were performed on the electroencephalography data. Additionally, we evaluated sleep spindle activity, which divided the spindles into fast-frequency spindle activity (12.5–16 Hz) and slow-frequency spindle activity (10.5–12.5 Hz).
Result: Sleep-dependent motor memory consolidation in patients with depression was impaired in comparison with that in control participants. In patients with depression, age correlated negatively with overnight improvement. The duration of slow-wave sleep correlated with the magnitude of motor memory consolidation in patients with depression, but not in healthy controls. Slow-frequency spindle activity was associated with reduction in the magnitude of motor memory consolidation in both groups.
Conclusion: Because the changes in slow-frequency spindle activity affected the thalamocortical network dysfunction in patients medicated for depression, dysregulated spindle generation may impair sleep-dependent memory consolidation. Our findings may help to elucidate the cognitive deficits that occur in patients with major depression both in the waking state and during sleep.

Keywords: depression, memory consolidation, motor skill, polysomnography, sleep spindle, thalamocortical network

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