Tissue-specific changes in antioxidant defenses and lipid peroxidation damage were analyzed in spade-foot toads, Scaphiopus couchii, to determine how these responded during estivation, a state of suppressed oxygen consumption. Maximal activities of glutathione-S-transferase, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase were measured in six organs from 2-month-estivated toads and compared with activities in animals awakened for 10 days after estivation. Activities of many enzymes, particularly the glutathione-linked enzymes, were significantly lower in tissues of estivating toads than in awake toads. This indicates that enzymatic antioxidant defenses are probably modulated in response to the rate of reactive oxygen species generation in tissues, which is proportional to oxygen consumption. Antioxidant enzyme activities were largely insensitive to high urea, which accumulates during estivation, but were inhibited by elevated KCl. Levels of reduced glutathione were also significantly lower in three organs during estivation and all organs, except skeletal muscle, exhibited a higher oxidized/reduced glutathione ratio, indicating a more oxidized state during estivation. Products of lipid peroxidation (conjugated dienes, lipid hydroperoxides) were higher in tissues of estivated than control toads, suggesting accumulated oxidative damage to lipids during dormancy. One enzymatic source of free radical generation, xanthine oxidase, appeared to have little impact because its activity was detectable only in liver and was significantly lower in estivated toads. The data indicate that both enzymatic and metabolite antioxidant defenses in toads are adaptable systems that are modulated in estivating versus awake states.

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Journal of Comparative Physiology B
Department of Chemistry

Grundy, J.E., & Storey, K. (1998). Antioxidant defenses and lipid peroxidation damage in estivating toads, Scaphiopus couchii. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 168(2), 132–142. doi:10.1007/s003600050129