Effect of hyperosmolality on control of blood flow and sweating

J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1984 Dec;57(6):1688-95. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1984.57.6.1688.


To study the effect of hyperosmolality on thermoregulatory responses, five men [average maximal O2 consumption (VO2 max) = 48 ml X kg-1 X min-1] cycled at 65-75% VO2max for up to 30 min in a 30 degrees C, 40% relative humidity environment under three conditions. First, control tests (C) were performed where preexercise plasma volume (PV) and osmolality (Osm) averaged 3,800 ml and 282 mosmol X kg-1, respectively. Second, exercise tests (D) were performed following dehydration induced by fluid restriction and mild exercise (30% VO2max) in hot (40 degrees C) ambient conditions. Each subject then rested in cool surroundings 1 h before performing the exercise test. Preexercise PV and Osm averaged 3,606 ml and 293 mosmol X kg-1, respectively. Third, exercise tests (I) were performed following dehydration, but during the 1-h rest interval, 3% saline was infused so that PV was restored to 3,826 ml and Osm averaged 294 mosmol X kg-1 prior to exercise. During D, esophageal temperatures (Tes) were significantly higher than C, an avg 0.56 degrees C after 20 min exercise due to a 0.22 degrees C increase in Tes threshold for vasodilation, a 39% reduction in slope of the forearm blood flow (BF)-Tes relationship, a 32% average reduction in maximal exercise BF, and a 0.22 degrees C increase in Tes sweating threshold. During I, responses were similar to D, except the BF-Tes slope and the maximum BF were not significantly different from C. Thus hyperosmolality modifies thermoregulation by elevating thresholds for both vasodilation and sweating even without decreases in PV.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Circulation*
  • Blood Physiological Phenomena*
  • Blood Volume
  • Body Fluids / metabolism
  • Body Temperature
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Dehydration / metabolism
  • Dehydration / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Physical Exertion
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / pharmacology
  • Sweating*


  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic