Seven Decades of REM Sleep Discovery

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2024) | Viewed by 2427

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Amity Institute of Neuropsychology and Neurosciences, Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Noida 201313, India
Interests: sleep-waking; REM sleep; noradrenaline; brain excitability; Na-K ATPase; neurodegeneration

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Guest Editor
Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles and VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, 6111 Plummer Street, Sepulveda, CA, USA
Interests: sleep; arousal or wakefulness; aging and sleep; cellular mechanisms of sleep; inflammation and sleep; hypothalamic mechanisms of sleep

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Understanding consciousness and its evolution in higher-intelligence beings is among the most sought-after subjects desired and explored by intellectuals from every field of studies, including philosophers, physicists, chemists, biologists, neuroscientists, and so on. Since the evolution of modern neurobiological science, consciousness has been classified primarily into two states: wakefulness and sleep. Subsequently, with the progress in knowledge during mid-twentieth century, sleep has been divided into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. The REM sleep is unique in the sense that, although one remains behaviourally asleep, the brain expresses electrophysiological signals comparable to waking. This unique state of REM sleep does not have a voluntary control; most of the dreams appear involuntarily and intermittently during this state. Since the discovery of REM sleep in 1953, in the following seven decades, consistent and significant efforts have been made to understand the biology, neural regulation, and functions of REM sleep. It is known that, at least in the higher vertebrates, REM sleep is an autonomically regulated, instinct behaviour; it is affected in almost all diseases, its loss affects almost all physiological processes, and its sustained loss often become fatal. Notwithstanding, our understanding about REM sleep is far from satisfactory, e.g., we do not know any marker to identify its loss, we cannot control (increase or decrease) it exclusively in a predictive manner; additionally, it is yet unclear if it is a state of consciousness, as well as why and how it modulates consciousness and cognitive ability. Furthermore, during REM sleep, as the brain appears to remain awake during behavioural deep sleep, a detailed understanding of neural and other regulation of REM sleep might facilitate our understanding of consciousness. From time to time, there have been isolated reviews and monographs focusing on various aspects of REM sleep; the most comprehensive one was more than a decade ago. Hence, it is high time that, in response to the significant interest, we produce a dedicated volume dealing with review of advances in the knowledge of REM sleep in the past seven decades, present knowledge as well as challenges and way forward. 

Prof. Dr. Birendra Nath Mallick
Prof. Dr. Noor Alam
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (1 paper)

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15 pages, 1200 KiB  
The Ponto-Geniculo-Occipital (PGO) Waves in Dreaming: An Overview
by Jin-Xian Gao, Guizhong Yan, Xin-Xuan Li, Jun-Fan Xie, Karen Spruyt, Yu-Feng Shao and Yi-Ping Hou
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(9), 1350; - 20 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2110
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is the main sleep correlate of dreaming. Ponto-geniculo-occipital (PGO) waves are a signature of REM sleep. They represent the physiological mechanism of REM sleep that specifically limits the processing of external information. PGO waves look just like a [...] Read more.
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is the main sleep correlate of dreaming. Ponto-geniculo-occipital (PGO) waves are a signature of REM sleep. They represent the physiological mechanism of REM sleep that specifically limits the processing of external information. PGO waves look just like a message sent from the pons to the lateral geniculate nucleus of the visual thalamus, the occipital cortex, and other areas of the brain. The dedicated visual pathway of PGO waves can be interpreted by the brain as visual information, leading to the visual hallucinosis of dreams. PGO waves are considered to be both a reflection of REM sleep brain activity and causal to dreams due to their stimulation of the cortex. In this review, we summarize the role of PGO waves in potential neural circuits of two major theories, i.e., (1) dreams are generated by the activation of neural activity in the brainstem; (2) PGO waves signaling to the cortex. In addition, the potential physiological functions during REM sleep dreams, such as memory consolidation, unlearning, and brain development and plasticity and mood regulation, are discussed. It is hoped that our review will support and encourage research into the phenomenon of human PGO waves and their possible functions in dreaming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Decades of REM Sleep Discovery)
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