Central nervous system control of heat acclimation adaptations: an emerging paradigm

Rev Neurosci. 2002;13(3):271-85. doi: 10.1515/revneuro.2002.13.3.271.


The role of the central nervous system (CNS) in the control of human heat acclimation (HA) and HA adaptations at the ultrastructural and biochemical level are not well described, although empirical evidence demonstrates that the hypothalamus adjusts thermoregulation subsequent to 8-14 days of exercise in a hot environment. Therefore, numerous investigations and concepts are presented in this paper that 1) describe plausible mechanisms for the development and CNS control of physiological adaptations and enhanced performance during heat acclimation, 2) include adaptations of neuron morphology and biochemical pathways, 3) account for situations in which homeostatic control during exercise in heat is inadequate, and 4) describe applications to other phenomena in physiology and medicine. The resulting paradigm incorporates information storage, temperature-sensitive neurons in the brain, and neural plasticity.

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / physiology*
  • Adaptation, Biological / physiology*
  • Body Temperature
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Environment
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Neural Conduction
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Time Factors