Neural control and mechanisms of eccrine sweating during heat stress and exercise

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2006 May;100(5):1692-701. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01124.2005.


In humans, evaporative heat loss from eccrine sweat glands is critical for thermoregulation during exercise and/or exposure to hot environmental conditions, particularly when environmental temperature is greater than skin temperature. Since the time of the ancient Greeks, the significance of sweating has been recognized, whereas our understanding of the mechanisms and controllers of sweating has largely developed during the past century. This review initially focuses on the basic mechanisms of eccrine sweat secretion during heat stress and/or exercise along with a review of the primary controllers of thermoregulatory sweating (i.e., internal and skin temperatures). This is followed by a review of key nonthermal factors associated with prolonged heat stress and exercise that have been proposed to modulate the sweating response. Finally, mechanisms pertaining to the effects of heat acclimation and microgravity exposure are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Body Fluids / physiology
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Cholinergic Fibers / physiology
  • Eccrine Glands / innervation
  • Eccrine Glands / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heat Stress Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Pressoreceptors / physiology
  • Skin Temperature / physiology
  • Sweating / physiology*
  • Temperature
  • Weightlessness