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J Exp Zool. 1992 Apr 1;261(4):373-8.

Cooling rate influences cryoprotectant distribution and organ dehydration in freezing wood frogs.

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Department of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056.


Ice formation in the freeze-tolerant wood frog (Rana sylvatica) induces the production and distribution of the cryoprotectant, glucose. Concomitantly, organs undergo a beneficial dehydration which likely inhibits mechanical injury during freezing. Together, these physiological responses promote freezing survival when frogs are frozen under slow cooling regimes. Rapid cooling, however, is lethal. We tested the hypothesis that the injurious effects of rapid cooling stem from an inadequate distribution of glucose to tissues and an insufficient removal of water from tissues during freezing. Accordingly, we compared glucose and water contents of five organs (liver, heart, skeletal muscle, eye, brain) from wood frogs cooled slowly or rapidly during freezing to -2.5 degrees C. Glucose concentrations in organs from slowly cooled frogs were significantly elevated over unfrozen controls, but no significant increases occurred in rapidly cooled frogs. Organs from slowly cooled frogs contained significantly less water than did those from controls, whereas water contents from rapidly cooled frogs generally were unchanged. Rapid cooling therefore inhibited the production and distribution of cryoprotectant and organ dehydration during freezing. This inhibition may result from an accelerated, premature failure of the cardiovascular system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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