Dynamic Network Activation of Hypothalamic Neurons in REM Sleep

Student: Xandre Clementsmith

Major: Psychology and Data Science

Mentors: Dr. Sorinel Oprisan

Department: Physics and Astronomy

Dynamic Network Activation of Hypothalamic Neurons in REM Sleep

This project aims to analyze experimental data received from our MUSC collaborator, on hypothalamic neurons that synthesize the neuropeptide melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH). In particular, MCH neurons are claimed to be active only during sleep, particularly REM sleep. We will analyze deep-brain imaging data to identify changes in fluorescence of the genetically encoded calcium (Ca2+) indicator GCaMP6 in individual hypothalamic neurons that contain MCH. It is well-established by an in-vitro electrophysiology study that a linear relationship exists between depolarization and Ca2+ fluorescence in MCH neurons. Spatial and temporal mapping of the change in fluorescence between pairs of MCH neurons was used to investigate the dynamic activation of MCH neurons during REM sleep. We further compared such results against the activation of a subset of the same neurons during exploratory behavior. Our project's end product is a functional network activity map that facilitates a comparison of not only single-neuron activity but also network response in different conditions and diseases.