Cellular responses to dehydration were analyzed in six organs of leopard frogs Rana pipiens. Frogs at 5 degrees C endured the loss of up to 50% of their total body water content but water contents of individual organs were strongly defended. Skeletal muscle water content was strongly affected by dehydration, dropping from 80.7% of wet mass in controls to 67.2% in frogs that had lost 50% of their total body water. However, water contents of internal organs dropped by only 3-8% of their wet masses. Water contents of all organs except skeletal muscle were fully restored by 24h of rehydration in water at 5 degrees C. Dehydration had no consistent effect on the protein content of five organs but in a sixth, the kidney, protein levels were elevated (by 60-72%) at the higher levels of dehydration and during rehydration. Dehydration led to a rapid increase in glucose concentration in the liver; compared with control values of 13 +/- 2 nmol mg-1 protein, levels were doubled by 12.2% dehydration and continued to increase to a maximum of 307 +/- 44 nmol mg-1 protein (20 mumol g-1 wet mass) in 50% dehydrated frogs. Glucose accumulation was supported by a decrease in liver glycogen content and a parallel rise in glucose 6-phosphate levels, but not in the levels of other glycolytic intermediates, confirming that glycogenolytic flux was being directed into glucose synthesis. Blood glucose levels also increased as a function of increasing dehydration, reaching values 13.8 times higher than controls, but only the kidney and brain showed a significant accumulation of glucose over the course of dehydration.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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