Intracellular freezing, viability, and composition of fat body cells from freeze-intolerant larvae of Sarcophaga crassipalpis

Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2001 Dec;48(4):199-205. doi: 10.1002/arch.1072.


Although it is often assumed that survival of freezing requires that ice formation must be restricted to extracellular compartments, fat body cells from freeze-tolerant larvae of the gall fly, Eurosta solidaginis (Diptera, Tephritidae) survive intracellular freezing. Furthermore, these cells are highly susceptible to inoculative freezing by external ice, undergo extensive lipid coalescence upon thawing, and survive freezing better when glycerol is added to the suspension medium. To determine whether these traits are required for intracellular freeze tolerance or whether they are incidental and possessed by fat body cells in general, we investigated the capacity of fat body cells from nondiapause-destined and diapause-destined (i.e., cold-hardy) larvae of the freeze-intolerant flesh fly Sarcophaga crassipalpis (Diptera, Sarcophagidae) to survive intracellular freezing. Fat body cells from both types of larvae were highly susceptible to inoculative freezing; all cells froze between -3.7 to -6.2 degrees C. The highest rates for survival of intracellular freezing occurred at -5 degrees C. The addition of glycerol to the media markedly increased survival rates. Upon thawing, the fat body cells showed little or no lipid coalescence. Fat body cells from E. solidaginis had a water content of only 35% compared to cells from S. crassipalpis larvae that had 52-55%; cells with less water may be less likely to be damaged by mechanical forces during intracellular freezing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Diptera / growth & development
  • Diptera / physiology*
  • Fat Body / chemistry
  • Fat Body / physiology*
  • Freezing*
  • Lipids / analysis


  • Lipids