Effects of temperature on nervous system: implications for behavioral performance

Am J Physiol. 1990 Aug;259(2 Pt 2):R191-6. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1990.259.2.R191.


Temperature change has a major impact on the function of the nervous system and its components, including altering synaptic gain and changing synaptic and conduction delays. Although many animals are subject to changes in body temperature, the degree of temperature change actually experienced by many poikilotherms is not well documented. The fact that many animals continue to exhibit coordinated sensorimotor function during changes in body temperature indicates that some form of temperature compensation has occurred within the nervous system. Compensations may occur automatically (opposing effects of temperature offsetting each other), they may be an inherent property of closed-loop systems, or they may be effected by more sophisticated control mechanisms such as those of the vertebrate cerebellum.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Neural Conduction
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Temperature*