Insufficient sleep in individuals appears increasingly common due to the demands of modern work schedules and technology use. Consequently, there is a growing need to understand the interactions between sleep deprivation and memory. The current study determined the effects of acute sleep deprivation on short and long-term associative memory using the marine mollusk Aplysia californica, a relatively simple model system well known for studies of learning and memory.
Aplysia were sleep deprived for 9 hours using context changes and tactile stimulation either prior to or after training for the operant learning paradigm, learning that food is inedible (LFI). The effects of sleep deprivation on short-term (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) were assessed.
Acute sleep deprivation prior to LFI training impaired the induction of STM and LTM with persistent effects lasting at least 24 h. Sleep deprivation immediately after training blocked the consolidation of LTM. However, sleep deprivation following the period of molecular consolidation did not affect memory recall. Memory impairments were independent of handling-induced stress, as daytime handled control animals demonstrated no memory deficits. Additional training immediately after sleep deprivation failed to rescue the induction of memory, but additional training alleviated the persistent impairment in memory induction when training occurred 24 h following sleep deprivation.
Acute sleep deprivation inhibited the induction and consolidation, but not the recall of memory. These behavioral studies establish Aplysia as an effective model system for studying the interactions between sleep and memory formation.
Krishnan HC, Gandour CE, Ramos JL, Wrinkle MC, Sanchez-Pacheco JJ, Lyons LC. Acute sleep deprivation blocks short- and long-term operant memory in Aplysia. SLEEP 2016;39(12):2161–2171.