Desiccation and freeze-drying methods were used for the estimation of water content of various rat tissues. In the desiccation method, the tissue samples were cut into small pieces and subsequently dried at 40 degrees C to constant weight. In the freeze-drying method, the prefrozen tissue samples were freeze-dried (-50 degrees C) for 24 h. Tissue water contents obtained by the desiccation and freeze-drying methods were very similar, with no significant difference between them. Regardless of the method, the highest tissue water content was found in testes (0.841 +/- 0.010 ml/g for freeze-drying and 0.865 +/- 0.002 ml/g for desiccation); the lowest values were obtained in bone (0.254 +/- 0.007 ml/g for freeze-drying and 0.267 +/- 0.003 ml/g for desiccation). Upon correction for the water content of residual tissue blood, regardless of the drying method, significant differences were found between corrected and uncorrected tissue water values of all tissues. However, for a given method, the difference between the tissue water contents was not significant after correcting for residual blood. The water content values for all tissues (except bone) agree well with those published previously and obtained by desiccation. All these clearly suggest that the freeze-drying method can he used as an alternative to desiccation for estimation of tissue water content. (c) 2006 Prous Science. All rights reserved.