Influence of nonthermal baroreceptor modulation of heat loss responses during uncompensable heat stress

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Feb;108(3):541-8. doi: 10.1007/s00421-009-1255-7. Epub 2009 Oct 28.


We evaluated the hypothesis that with increasing levels of hyperthermia, thermal influences would predominate over nonthermal baroreceptor control of cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC) and local sweat rate (LSR). On separate days, eight male participants were positioned in either an upright seated posture (URS) or a 15 degrees head-down tilt (HDT) posture in a thermoneutral condition and during passive heating, until mean body temperature (T(body)) increased by 1.5 degrees C. Hemodynamic [heart rate (HR), cardiac output, mean arterial pressure (MAP)] and thermal responses [T(re), CVC, LSR] were measured continuously. MAP showed a gradual decrease in the early- to mid-stages of heating for both HDT and URS. At a T(body) > 0.6 degrees C, MAP achieved a stable, albeit reduced level from baseline resting for the duration of the heating, whereas MAP decreased significantly throughout the heating period in the URS position (p < 0.001). CVC increased rapidly in the early stages of heating and achieved a stable elevated level in both HDT and URS at the mid-stage of heating (T(body) increase <or= 0.45 degrees C) for the duration of the heating period (i.e., to a T(body) increase of 1.5 degrees C). A similar pattern of response was observed in LSR. A rapid increase in LSR was observed in the early- to mid-stages of heating (T(body) increase <or= 0.75 degrees C), followed by a slower increase until the end of heating. Responses were similar between conditions. We conclude that despite a significant nonthermal drive, as evidenced by a significant difference in MAP between conditions in the late stages of heating, the thermoeffector activity governing CVC and LSR responses are primarily modulated by thermal input.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Cardiac Output / physiology
  • Fever / physiopathology*
  • Head-Down Tilt / physiology
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology
  • Pressoreceptors / physiology*
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Sweating / physiology