Sleep stage dependant changes of the high-frequency part of the somatosensory evoked potentials at the thalamus and cortex

P. Halboni, R. Kaminski, R. Gobbelé, S. Züchner, T. D. Waberski, C. S. Herrmann, R. Töpper, H. Buchner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Objectives: It is known that the high-frequency oscillations (above 400 Hz) of the somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) diminish during sleep while the N20 persists (Neurology 38 (1988) 64; Electroenceph clin Neurophysiol 70 (1988) 126; Electroenceph clin Neurophysiol 100 (1996) 189). We investigated possible differential effects of sleep on the 600 Hz SEPs at the thalamus and cortex.Methods: SEPs from 10 subjects were recorded using 64 channels following electric stimulation at the wrist during awake state and sleep stages II, IV and REM. Dipole source analysis was applied to separate brain-stem, thalamic and cortical activity in the low-frequency (20-450 Hz) and the high-frequency (450-750 Hz) part of the signal.Results: The low-frequency SEPs showed a non-significant increase of the latency of the N20 and a bifid change of the waveform in 3 subjects. The high-frequency SEPs showed a significant decrease of their amplitude at the level of the thalamus and cortex but not at the brain-stem. This decrease in amplitude at the thalamus and cortex were significantly correlated. There was no effect on the latency of the signal. In addition, at the cortex, differential effects on early and late parts of the 600 Hz oscillations were found by time-frequency analysis using a wavelet transformation.Conclusions: Sleep dependent decrease of the high-frequency SEPs were first observed at the thalamus pointing to the known function of the reticular thalamic nucleus regulating arousal. The results presented here provide further evidence for a thalamic origin of the 600 Hz oscillations. In addition, on the basis of the differential effects on early (up to the N20 peak) and late (between 20 and 25 ms) parts of the signal, at least one intracortical generator of these oscillations is proposed. In general, the high-frequency SEPs (600 Hz oscillations) are supposed to reflect activity of a somatosensory arousal system. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2277-2284
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • 600 Hz wavelets
  • Dipole source analysis
  • Median nerve
  • Oscillatory SEP
  • Primary somatosensory cortex
  • Reticular thalamic nucleus
  • Sleep stages
  • Somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)


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