Central nervous system circuits that control body temperature

Neurosci Lett. 2019 Mar 23;696:225-232. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2018.11.027. Epub 2018 Dec 23.


Maintenance of mammalian core body temperature within a narrow range is a fundamental homeostatic process to optimize cellular and tissue function, and to improve survival in adverse thermal environments. Body temperature is maintained during a broad range of environmental and physiological challenges by central nervous system circuits that process thermal afferent inputs from the skin and the body core to control the activity of thermoeffectors. These include thermoregulatory behaviors, cutaneous vasomotion (vasoconstriction and, in humans, active vasodilation), thermogenesis (shivering and brown adipose tissue), evaporative heat loss (salivary spreading in rodents, and human sweating). This review provides an overview of the central nervous system circuits for thermoregulatory reflex regulation of thermoeffectors.

Keywords: Brown adipose tissue; Cutaneous vasomotion; Saliva secretion; Shivering; Sweating; Thermoregulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Shivering / physiology
  • Skin Temperature / physiology*
  • Thermogenesis / physiology*