Effects of estrogen on thermoregulatory tail vasomotion and heat-escape behavior in freely moving female rats

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2001 May;280(5):R1341-7. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.2001.280.5.R1341.


Effects of estrogen on thermoregulatory vasomotion and heat-escape behavior were investigated in ovariectomized female rats supplemented with estrogen (replaced estrogen rats) or control saline (low estrogen rats). First, we measured tail temperature of freely moving rats at ambient temperatures (T(a)) between 13 and 31 degrees C. Tail temperature of the low estrogen rats was higher than that of the replaced estrogen rats at T(a) between 19 and 25 degrees C, indicating that the low estrogen rats exhibit more skin vasodilation than the replaced estrogen rats. There was no significant difference in oxygen consumption and core temperature between the two groups. Second, we analyzed heat-escape behaviors in a hot chamber where rats could obtain cold air by moving in and out of a reward area. The low estrogen rats kept T(a) at a lower level than did the replaced estrogen rats. These results imply that the lack of estrogen facilitates heat dissipation both by skin vasodilation and by heat-escape behavior. Ovariectomized rats may mimic climacteric hot flushes not only for autonomic skin vasomotor activity but also for thermoregulatory behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / drug effects
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Climacteric
  • Drug Implants
  • Escape Reaction / drug effects
  • Escape Reaction / physiology*
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature
  • Models, Animal
  • Motor Activity
  • Ovariectomy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reward
  • Skin / blood supply*
  • Skin Temperature / physiology*
  • Tail
  • Vasodilation


  • Drug Implants
  • Estradiol