Local versus whole-body sweating adaptations following 14 days of traditional heat acclimation

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016 Aug;41(8):816-24. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2015-0698. Epub 2016 Mar 24.


The purpose of this study was to examine if local changes in sweat rate following 14 days of heat acclimation reflect those that occur at the whole-body level. Both prior to and following a 14-day traditional heat acclimation protocol, 10 males exercised in the heat (35 °C, ∼20% relative humidity) at increasing rates of heat production equal to 300 (Ex1), 350 (Ex2), and 400 (Ex3) W·m(-2). A 10-min recovery period followed Ex1, while a 20-min recovery period separated Ex2 and Ex3. The exercise protocol was performed in a direct calorimeter to measure whole-body sweat rate and, on a separate day, in a thermal chamber to measure local sweat rate (LSR), sweat gland activation (SGA), and sweat gland output (SGO) on the upper back, chest, and mid-anterior forearm. Post-acclimation, whole-body sweat rate was greater during each exercise bout (Ex1: 14.3 ± 0.9; Ex2: 17.3 ± 1.2; Ex3: 19.4 ± 1.3 g·min(-1), all p ≤ 0.05) relative to pre-acclimation (Ex1: 13.1 ± 0.6; Ex2: 15.4 ± 0.8; Ex3: 16.5 ± 1.3 g·min(-1)). In contrast, only LSR on the forearm increased with acclimation, and this increase was only observed during Ex2 (Post: 1.32 ± 0.33 vs. Pre: 1.06 ± 0.22 mg·min(-1)·cm(-2), p = 0.03) and Ex3 (Post: 1.47 ± 0.41 vs. Pre: 1.17 ± 0.23 mg·min(-1)·cm(-2), p = 0.05). The greater forearm LSR post-acclimation was due to an increase in SGO, as no changes in SGA were observed. Overall, these data demonstrate marked regional variability in the effect of heat acclimation on LSR, such that not all local measurements of sweat rate reflect the improvements observed at the whole-body level.

Keywords: acclimatation à la chaleur; heat acclimatization; local sweating; mean body temperature; sudation locale; taux de sudation globale de l’organisme; température corporelle moyenne; whole-body sweat rate.

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization*
  • Adult
  • Body Temperature
  • Calorimetry
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Forearm / physiology
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sweat Glands / physiology
  • Sweating / physiology*
  • Young Adult