Harnessing olfactory bulb oscillations to perform fully brain-based sleep-scoring and real-time monitoring of anaesthesia depth

by Sophie Bagur, Marie Masako Lacroix, Gaëtan de Lavilléon, Julie M. Lefort, Hélène Geoffroy, Karim Benchenane

Real-time tracking of vigilance states related to both sleep or anaesthesia has been a goal for over a century. However, sleep scoring cannot currently be performed with brain signals alone, despite the deep neuromodulatory transformations that accompany sleep state changes. Therefore, at heart, the operational distinction between sleep and wake is that of immobility and movement, despite numerous situations in which this one-to-one mapping fails. Here we demonstrate, using local field potential (LFP) recordings in freely moving mice, that gamma (50–70 Hz) power in the olfactory bulb (OB) allows for clear classification of sleep and wake, thus providing a brain-based criterion to distinguish these two vigilance states without relying on motor activity. Coupled with hippocampal theta activity, it allows the elaboration of a sleep scoring algorithm that relies on brain activity alone. This method reaches over 90% homology with classical methods based on muscular activity (electromyography [EMG]) and video tracking. Moreover, contrary to EMG, OB gamma power allows correct discrimination between sleep and immobility in ambiguous situations such as fear-related freezing. We use the instantaneous power of hippocampal theta oscillation and OB gamma oscillation to construct a 2D phase space that is highly robust throughout time, across individual mice and mouse strains, and under classical drug treatment. Dynamic analysis of trajectories within this space yields a novel characterisation of sleep/wake transitions: whereas waking up is a fast and direct transition that can be modelled by a ballistic trajectory, falling asleep is best described as a stochastic and gradual state change. Finally, we demonstrate that OB oscillations also allow us to track other vigilance states. Non-REM (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep can be distinguished with high accuracy based on beta (10–15 Hz) power. More importantly, we show that depth of anaesthesia can be tracked in real time using OB gamma power. Indeed, the gamma power predicts and anticipates the motor response to stimulation both in the steady state under constant anaesthetic and dynamically during the recovery period. Altogether, this methodology opens the avenue for multi-timescale characterisation of brain states and provides an unprecedented window onto levels of vigilance.

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