Freeze-tolerant wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) must endure prolonged ischemia on freezing. Reperfusion on thawing brings with it the potential for oxidative damage due to reactive oxygen species formation, a well-known consequence of mammalian ischemia-reperfusion. To determine whether oxidative damage occurs during thawing and how frogs deal with this, we examined oxidative damage and antioxidant and prooxidant systems in tissues of Rana sylvatica and a nonfreezing relative, Rana pipiens. Glutathione status indicated little oxidative stress in tissues during freezing or thawing; an increase of the glutathione pool in the oxidized form was observed during freezing only in Rana sylvatica kidney (by 85%) and brain (by 33%). Oxidative damage to tissue lipids, measured as the levels of thiobarbituric acid- reactive substances and/or by an Fe(III)-xylenol orange assay, did not increase above control values over a freeze-thaw time course. Correlative data showing increased activities of some antioxidant enzymes during freezing, notably glutathione peroxidase (increasing 1.2- to 2.5-fold), as well as constitutively higher activities of antioxidant enzymes and higher levels of glutathione in the freeze-tolerant species compared with Rana pipiens, suggest that antioxidant defenses play a key role in amphibian freeze tolerance.

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American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Department of Biology

Joanisse, D.R. (Denis R.), & Storey, K. (1996). Oxidative damage and antioxidants in Rana sylvatica, the freeze-tolerant wood frog. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 271(3 40-3).