The effect of low ambient temperature on the febrile responses of rats to semi-purified human endogenous pyrogen

Yale J Biol Med. 1985 Mar-Apr;58(2):189-94.


The febrile responses of Sprague-Dawley rats to semi-purified human endogenous pyrogen were studied at a thermoneutral ambient temperature (26 degrees C) and in the cold (3 degrees C). It was found that while rats developed typical monophasic febrile responses at thermoneutrality, febrile responses were absent in the cold-exposed rats. Experiments were conducted to determine whether this lack of febrile responses in cold-exposed rats was due to an inability of these animals to generate or retain heat in the cold. Thermogenesis and vasoconstriction were stimulated in cold-exposed rats by selectively cooling the hypothalamus, using chronically implanted thermodes. It was shown that, using this stimulus, metabolic rate could be increased by more than 50 percent and body temperature could be driven up at a rate of 5 degrees C/hour in rats exposed to the cold. Therefore, it was concluded that the lack of febrile responses of cold-exposed rats to pyrogen is in no way due to a physical or physiological inability to retain heat. Instead, it appears that in some manner cold exposure suppresses the sensitivity or responsiveness of the rat to pyrogenic stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fever / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1*
  • Male
  • Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Pyrogens / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Temperature*


  • Interleukin-1
  • Proteins
  • Pyrogens
  • leukocyte endogenous mediator