Abstract:The study aimed to identify task-related brain activation networks whose change in expression exhibits subject differences as a function of differential susceptibility to sleep deprivation. Brain activity during a non-verbal recognition memory task was investigated in an event-related functional MRI paradigm both prior to and after 48 h of sleep deprivation. Nineteen healthy subjects participated. Regional covariance analysis was applied to data. An activation network pattern was identified whose expression decreased from pre- to post-sleep deprivation in 15 out 19 subjects (P < 0.05). Differential decrease in expression correlated with worsening performance in recognition accuracy (P < 0.05). Sites of de-activation were found in the posterior cerebellum, right fusiform gyrus and precuneus, and left lingual and inferior temporal gyri; increased activation was found in the bilateral insula, claustrum and right putamen. A network whose expression decreased after sleep deprivation and correlated with memory performance was identified. We conclude that this activation network plays a role in cognitive function during sleep deprivation.