Adult-born neurons (ABNs) in the dentate gyrus are important for memory formation. Monitoring calcium activity in these neurons during and after a fear learning task showed that most young ABNs (4 weeks old or younger) that were sparsely active during learning were also active (at an even lower level) during post-learning REM sleep. Optogenetic silencing of these neurons during REM sleep reduced fear memory, suggesting that activity of ABNs during REM sleep contributes to memory consolidation.
Kumar, D. et al. Sparse activity of hippocampal adult-born neurons during REM sleep is necessary for memory consolidation. Neuron https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2020.05.008 (2020)
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Lewis, S. Sleeping like a newborn (neuron). Nat Rev Neurosci 21, 400 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41583-020-0339-6