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Free Content Antioxidant systems in supporting environmental and programmed adaptations to low temperatures

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Hetero and endothermic adaptive responses arising as a result of natural responses to environmental cues include antioxidant systems that support adaptations to environmental low temperatures in the broadest sense. These temperatures induce phase changes in energy production and consequently changes in the concentration of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The latter may lead to oxidative stress and the impairment of cellular homeostasis and antioxidant defence systems (ADS) scavenge the ROS so generated. In endotherms the ADS responds to oxidative pressure during acute cold stress conditions, this response is tissue specific and does not extend to prevent other oxidative damage. The early acute phase of cold exposure is accompanied by a significant depletion in redox equivalents. Under such conditions it is questionable if ADS has the capacity to neutralize elevated levels of ROS since there is also an increased energy demand and enhanced ATP consumption. Prolonged exposure to cold leads to ADS adaptation. Hibernators and freeze-tolerant species elevate their ADS before hibernation or freezing in order to prepare for and cope with re-awakening. The involvement of ROS and the role of the ADS in organisms subjected to low tempreatures are features intercalated into physiological mechanisms of homestasis. The exact mechanisms for ADS regulation have not been fully defined and are the subject of many ongoing intruiging scientific investigations.

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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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  • CryoLetters is a bimonthly international journal for low temperature sciences, including cryobiology, cryopreservation or vitrification of cells and tissues, chemical and physical aspects of freezing and drying, and studies involving ecology of cold environments, and cold adaptation

    The journal publishes original research reports, authoritative reviews, technical developments and commissioned book reviews of studies of the effects produced by low temperatures on a wide variety of scientific and technical processes, or those involving low temperature techniques in the investigation of physical, chemical, biological and ecological problems.

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