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J Comp Physiol B. 1994;164(4):316-20.

Post-freeze recovery of peripheral nerve function in the freeze-tolerant wood frog, Rana sylvatica.

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


We investigated the restoration in peripheral nerve function and simple neurobehavioral reflexes in the freeze-tolerant wood frog (Rana sylvatica). Thirty-two specimens, allowed to freeze for 39 h and ultimately cooled to -2.2 degrees C, were sampled at various time intervals up to 60 h after thawing at 5 degrees C was initiated. The sciatic nerves of treated frogs were initially unresponsive to stimulation, but usually regained excitability within 5 h. Except for a slight reduction in nerve excitability, characteristics of the compound action potentials of treated frogs were indistinguishable from those of control frogs. Recovery times for the hindlimb retraction and righting reflexes were 8 h and 14 h, respectively. Concentrations of the cryoprotectant glucose increased 8.2-fold in the sciatic nerve and 10.5-fold in the underlying semimembranosis muscle of treated frogs, and remained elevated for at least 60 h after thawing was initiated. These organs lost 47.2% and 15.9%, respectively, of their water during freezing, but were rehydrated within 2 h of the onset of thawing. The accumulation of glucose and the withdrawal of tissue water apparently are cryoprotective responses which enable this species to survive freezing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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