Response of plasma endorphins, prolactin and catecholamines in women to intense heat in a sauna

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1988;57(1):98-102. doi: 10.1007/BF00691246.


Concentrations of immunoreactive beta-endorphin (ir beta-E), corticotropin, cortisol, prolactin and catecholamines in plasma were followed in 11 healthy women during and after exposure to intense heat in a Finnish sauna bath, and compared to those in a similar control situation without exposure to heat. Heat stress significantly increased prolactin and norepinephrine secretion; the percentage increases from the initial plasma concentrations varied from 113 to 1280% (mean 510%) and from 18 to 150% (mean 86%), respectively. The response of the plasma levels of epinephrine, ir beta-E, corticotropin and cortisol to heat exposure was variable. Compared to the control situation, no statistically significant effect of heat exposure on the plasma levels of these hormones was found.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Catecholamines / blood*
  • Endorphins / blood*
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Prolactin / blood*
  • Steam Bath*
  • Stress, Physiological / blood


  • Catecholamines
  • Endorphins
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Prolactin
  • Hydrocortisone