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A preliminary study of sleep ontogenesis in the ferret (Mustela putorius furo).


ABSTRACT: We investigated sleep ontogenesis in the ferret-a placental mammal that is highly altricial compared to other mammalian species. Because altriciality is linked with elevated rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep amounts during infancy, it was expected that ferret kits would display very high levels of this state. Longitudinal polysomnographic measurements were made from 8 ferret kits from approximately eye-opening (postnatal day [P]30)-P50 using an experimental routine that minimized the effects of maternal separation. These data were compared to values from 8 adult ferrets (>3 months of age) and 6 neonatal cats (mean age: P31.7). We find that the polygraphic features of REM and non-REM (NREM) sleep are present by at least P30. Over the next 2 weeks, REM sleep amounts slightly declined while wakefulness and NREM sleep amounts increased. However, a comparison to published values from developing cats and rats showed that the ferret did not exhibit a disproportionate amount of REM sleep at similar postnatal ages or relative to a common developmental milestone (eye-opening).

SUBMITTER: Thurber A 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2527623 | BioStudies | 2008-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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