To determine whether episodes of natural freezing and thawing altered the metabolic makeup of wood frog (Rana sylvatica) organs, the maximal activities of 28 enzymes of intermediary metabolism were assessed in six organs (brain, heart, kidney, liver, skeletal muscle, gut) of control (5°C acclimated), frozen (24 h at -3°C), and thawed (24 h back at 5°C) frogs. The enzymes assessed represented pathways including glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, amino acid metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, the TCA cycle, and adenylate metabolism. Organ-specific responses seen included (a) the number of enzymes affected by freeze-thaw (1 in gut ranging to 17 in heart), (b) the magnitude and direction of response (most often enzyme activities decreased during freezing and rebounded with thawing but, liver showed freeze-specific increases in several enzymes), and (c) the response to freezing versus thawing (enzyme activities in gut and kidney changed during freezing, whereas most enzymes in skeletal muscle responded to thawing). Overall, the data show that freeze-thaw implements selected changes to the maximal activities of various enzymes of intermediary metabolism and that these may aid organ-specific responses that alter fuel use during freeze-thaw, support cryoprotectant metabolism, and aid organ endurance of freeze-induced ischemia.

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Department of Biology

Cowan, K.J. (Kyra J.), & Storey, K. (2002). Freeze-thaw effects on metabolic enzymes in wood frog organs. Cryobiology, 43(1), 32–45. doi:10.1006/cryo.2001.2338