Effect of menstrual cycle phase on the ventilatory response to rising body temperature during exercise

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2012 Jul;113(2):237-45. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01199.2011. Epub 2012 May 17.


To examine the effect of menstrual cycle on the ventilatory sensitivity to rising body temperature, ten healthy women exercised for ~60 min on a cycle ergometer at 50% of peak oxygen uptake during the follicular and luteal phases of their cycle. Esophageal temperature, mean skin temperature, mean body temperature, minute ventilation, and tidal volume were all significantly higher at baseline and during exercise in the luteal phase than the follicular phase. On the other hand, end-tidal partial pressure of carbon dioxide was significantly lower during exercise in the luteal phase than the follicular phase. Plotting ventilatory parameters against esophageal temperature revealed there to be no significant menstrual cycle-related differences in the slopes or intercepts of the regression lines, although minute ventilation and tidal volume did significantly differ during exercise with mild hyperthermia. To evaluate the cutaneous vasodilatory response, relative laser-Doppler flowmetry values were plotted against mean body temperature, which revealed that the mean body temperature threshold for cutaneous vasodilation was significantly higher in the luteal phase than the follicular phase, but there were no significant differences in the sensitivity or peak values. These results suggest that the menstrual cycle phase influences the cutaneous vasodilatory response during exercise and the ventilatory response at rest and during exercise with mild hyperthermia, but it does not influence ventilatory responses during exercise with moderate hyperthermia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follicular Phase / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Luteal Phase / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Respiratory Mechanics*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Tidal Volume / physiology
  • Young Adult