The purpose of this study was to examine changes of thermoregulation, neurotransmitters in the preoptic area and anterior hypothalamus (PO/AH), which is the thermoregulatory center, and endurance exercise performance after the intraperitoneal injection of caffeine in rats. Core body temperature (Tcore), oxygen consumption (VO₂) and tail skin temperature (Ttail) were measured. A microdialysis probe was inserted in the PO/AH, and samples for the measurements of extracellular dopamine (DA), noradrenaline (NA) and serotonin (5-HT) levels were collected. During the rest experiment, 1 h after baseline collections in the chamber (23 °C), the rats were intraperitoneally injected with saline, or 3 mg kg(-1) or 10 mg kg(-1) caffeine. The duration of the test was 4 h. During the exercise experiment, baseline collections on the treadmill were obtained for 1 h. One hour before the start of exercise, rats were intraperitoneally injected with either 10 mg kg(-1) caffeine (CAF) or saline (SAL). Animals ran until fatigue at a speed of 18 m min(-1), at a 5% grade, on the treadmill in a normal environment (23 °C). At rest, 3 mg kg(-1) caffeine did not influence Tcore, Ttail, VO₂, extracellular DA, NA and 5-HT. 10 mg kg(-1) caffeine caused significant increases in Tcore, VO₂, Ttail and extracellular DA in the PO/AH. In addition, 10 mg kg(-1) caffeine increased the run time to fatigue (SAL: 104.4 ± 30.9 min, CAF: 134.0 ± 31.1 min, p<0.05). The combination of caffeine and exercise increased Tcore, VO₂, Ttail and extracellular DA in the PO/AH. NA increased during exercise, while neither caffeine nor exercise changed 5-HT. These results indicate that caffeine has ergogenic and hyperthermic effects, and these effects may be related to changes of DA release in the brain.
Keywords: Caffeine; Core temperature; Dopamine; Ergogenic effect; PO/AH.
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