Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 400, Issue 3, pp 228–234 | Cite as

A comparison between total body thermosensitivity and local thermosensitivity in mammals and birds

  • James B. Mercer
  • Eckhart Simon
Heart, Circulation, Respiration and Blood; Environmental and Exercise Physiology

Abstract

We have investigated how total body thermosensitivity in various mammalian and avian species (mouse, rat, golden hamster, guinea pig, rabbit, dog, goat, pigeon, duck, goose) is related to their respective local thermosensitivities in the hypothalamus, spinal cord and skin. Local and total thermosensitivities were determined by measuring the relationship between the response of one thermoregulatory effector, metabolic heat production, and the appropriate temperature. Local cooling was performed with chronically implanted, water perfused thermodes, and local thermosensitivities were estimated by relating the maximum activation of metabolic heat production to the induced decreases in local temperature. Total body cooling was achieved by means of chronically implanted intravascular heat exchangers or with thermodes inserted into the lower intestinal tract, and total body thermosensitivity was assessed by relating the rise in metabolic heat production to the induced fall in core temperature. These analyses plus previous estimations derived from the literature show total body thermosensitivity in the different species to range from −4.0 to −12.0 W · kg−1 · °C−1. We also measured rabbit spinal cord thermosensitivity and guinea pig hypothalamic and spinal cord thermosensitivity; values for local thermosensitivity in other species were derived from the literature. In all species, local thermosensitivities determined as cold sensitivities in the described way were smaller than the corresponding total body core sensitivities. We conclude that thermosensitive structures outside of the investigated thermosensitive areas contribute a major input to the controller of body temperature, particularly in avian species in which hypothalamic thermosensitivity is lacking. This corresponds to observations in several mammalian and one avian species in which local and total body thermosensitivities were dervied from the responses of an autonomic heat defence effector, respiratory evaporative heat loss.

Key words

Temperature regulation Hypothalamic thermosensitivity Spinal cord thermosensitivity Skin thermosensitivity Total body thermosensitivity 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • James B. Mercer
    • 1
  • Eckhart Simon
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für physiologische und klinische ForschungW. G. Kerckhoff-InstitutBad NauheimFederal Republic of Germany

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