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Circadian regulation of human cortical excitability

Ly, JQM, Gaggioni, G, Chellappa, SL, Papachilleos, S, Brzozowski, A, Borsu, C, Rosanova, M, Sarasso, S, Middleton, Benita, Luxen, A , Archer, Simon, Phillips, C, Dijk, Derk-Jan, Maquet, P, Massimini, M and Vandewalle, G (2016) Circadian regulation of human cortical excitability Nature Communications, 11828.


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Prolonged wakefulness alters cortical excitability, which is essential for proper brain function and cognition. However, besides prior wakefulness, brain function and cognition are also affected by circadian rhythmicity. Whether the regulation of cognition involves a circadian impact on cortical excitability is unknown. Here, we assessed cortical excitability from scalp EEG-responses to transcranial magnetic stimulation in 22 participants during 29-h of wakefulness under constant conditions. Data reveal robust circadian dynamics of cortical excitability that were strongest in those individuals with highest endocrine markers of circadian amplitude. In addition, the time course of cortical excitability correlated with changes in EEG synchronization and cognitive performance. These results demonstrate that the crucial factor for cortical excitability, and basic brain function in general, is the balance between circadian rhythmicity and sleep need, rather than sleep homeostasis alone. These findings have implications for clinical applications such as noninvasive brain stimulation in neurorehabilitation.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : subj_Biosciences
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine > Department of Biochemical Sciences
Authors :
Gaggioni, G
Chellappa, SL
Papachilleos, S
Brzozowski, A
Borsu, C
Rosanova, M
Sarasso, S
Luxen, A
Phillips, C
Maquet, P
Massimini, M
Vandewalle, G
Date : 24 June 2016
DOI : 10.1038/ncomms11828
Copyright Disclaimer : This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Uncontrolled Keywords : circadian, cortical excitability, TMS/EEG, cognition, sleep
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 19 Apr 2016 16:32
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 17:03

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