To evaluate exertional overheating and the impact of physical exercise on individuals with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED) and to assess protective effects of cooling devices, 13 boys and male adolescents with X-linked HED (XLHED) and age-matched healthy male controls were studied during standardized exercise on a bicycle ergometer at ambient temperatures of 25 and 30°C, without cooling and with evaporative skin cooling devices at 30°C. Body core temperature during and after exercise, heart rate, performance, endurance, and serum lactate were investigated. XLHED subjects experienced a significantly greater rise in body temperature after cycling than healthy controls, and their body temperature remained elevated longer. Maximum heart rates and lactate values did not differ significantly between XLHED and control groups. Application of skin cooling devices led to a clinically relevant attenuation of exertional hyperthermia in XLHED patients, and a previous tendency toward lower performance disappeared. This first systematic study of the effects of physical exercise on HED patients demonstrates a rapid and lasting body temperature increase in XLHED subjects after cycling, posing them at risk of exercise-induced hyperthermia. External evaporative skin cooling attenuates exertional overheating in HED patients and may facilitate their participation in athletic activities and professional life.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01135888.