Cerebral Activation During Initial Motor Learning Forecasts Subsequent Sleep-Facilitated Memory Consolidation in Older Adults

Bradley R. King, Philippe Saucier, Genevieve Albouy, Stuart M. Fogel, Jost Julian Rumpf, Juliane Klann, Giovanni Buccino, Ferdinand Binkofski, Joseph Classen, Avi Karni, Julien Doyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Older adults exhibit deficits in motor memory consolidation; however, little is known about the cerebral correlates of this impairment. We thus employed fMRI to investigate the neural substrates underlying motor sequence memory consolidation, and the modulatory influence of post-learning sleep, in healthy older adults. Participants were trained on a motor sequence and retested following an 8-h interval including wake or diurnal sleep as well as a 22-h interval including a night of sleep. Results demonstrated that a post-learning nap improved offline consolidation across same- and next-day retests. This enhanced consolidation was reflected by increased activity in the putamen and the medial temporal lobe, including the hippocampus, regions that have previously been implicated in sleep-dependent neural plasticity in young adults. Moreover, for the first time in older adults, the neural substrates subserving initial motor learning, including the putamen, cerebellum, and parietal cortex, were shown to forecast subsequent consolidation depending on whether a post-learning nap was afforded. Specifically, sufficient activation in a motor-related network appears to be necessary to trigger sleep-facilitated consolidation in older adults. Our findings not only demonstrate that post-learning sleep can enhance motor memory consolidation in older adults, but also provide the system-level neural correlates of this beneficial effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1588-1601
Number of pages14
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


  • aging
  • fMRI
  • memory consolidation
  • motor learning
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Cerebral Activation During Initial Motor Learning Forecasts Subsequent Sleep-Facilitated Memory Consolidation in Older Adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this