Kidney slices either were exposed to the cryoprotectants for 1 hr at room temperature and subsequently washed and incubated in fresh KR buffer containing only the radioactive metabolic tracers, or were immediately incubated for 2 hr at 37 degrees C in KR buffer containing the cryoprotectant and the tracers. Exposure to glycerol by incubation of kidney slices in Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate buffer containing varying concentrations of glycerol from 0 to 70% (v/v) resulted in a pronounced inhibitory effect on the protein synthesizing activity, while thymidine incorporation into DNA and the alpha-aminoisobutyric acid uptake through the cell membranes were less affected. Exposure of the tissue to buffer containing dimethylsulfoxide (Me2SO) in concentrations of 10 to 20% (v/v) resulted in a stimulatory effect on metabolism. At higher concentrations, Me2SO was toxic resulting in damaging effects on protein and DNA synthesis as well as on membrane integrity. The stimulatory effects of exposure to low concentrations of Me2SO on protein and DNA synthesis in kidney slices were concluded to be the result of an increased transport of precursors through the cell membranes.