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Review Article
Neural Plasticity
Volume 2013, Article ID 394946, 3 pages
Letter to the Editor

Why I Am Not SHY: A Reply to Tononi and Cirelli

Department of Neuroscience, Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania, 215 Stemmler Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Received 15 November 2012; Accepted 13 January 2013

Copyright © 2013 Marcos Gabriel Frank. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In a recent article I reviewed an influential theory of sleep function, the “synaptic homeostasis hypothesis (SHY.)” According to SHY, sleep renormalizes synapses that are potentiated during prior wakefulness. I concluded that while SHY is a seminal theory with important implications about sleep function and the brain, its underlying mechanisms are poorly defined. In an accompanying article, the authors of SHY responded at length. Their reply is thoughtful and provocative, but unfortunately many of the points I raised were not accurately represented or addressed. In this brief commentary, I attempt to clarify some points of confusion. I also explain why any theory of sleep function is incomplete without an understanding of the underlying cellular mechanisms.