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Differences in rectal temperatures measured at depths of 4–19 cm from the anal sphincter during exercise and rest


The purpose of the present study was to examine the discrepancies in rectal temperature (T re) at various depths. Nineteen young males performed two bouts of bicycle exercise and recovery. T re was simultaneously measured at depth of 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 16, and 19 cm, alongside the measurement of skin temperatures. We found small but statistically significant differences by depth in the absolute T re, the magnitude of rise in T re and the lag of response in T re. During the stabilization stage before exercise, T re at 4 cm-depth was 0.5°C lower than T re at 16 cm-depth (p < 0.05). As the depth measured in the rectum was shallower, the rise in T re during exercise was greater. However the rise in T re at 10, 13, 16 and 19 cm showed no systemic difference. Among seven depths, T re at 16 cm-depth had the most stable feature with the longest latent period (3.1 ± 1.3 min) and the smallest rise (0.8 ± 0.3°C), while T re at 4 cm-depth was the most responsive to the change of exercise and rest with the shortest latent period (1.0 ± 0.6 min) and the greatest rise (1.2 ± 0.5°C). The differences observed in the depths from 4 to 19 cm were offset by exercise to some extent. In summary, T re appeared in different manners according to the seven depths during the repetition of exercise and rest, but T re deeper than 10 cm-depth seemed to have no systematic differences.

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We would like to express our thanks to Sang-Il Lee, Mutsuhiro Fujiwara, Andrew Cookson, and Shizuka Umezaki for their academic advices and mechanical supports. This study was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS #P09128). The authors declare that the experiments comply with the current laws of Japan.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Joo-Young Lee.

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Communicated by Tatsuo Watanabe.

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Lee, JY., Wakabayashi, H., Wijayanto, T. et al. Differences in rectal temperatures measured at depths of 4–19 cm from the anal sphincter during exercise and rest. Eur J Appl Physiol 109, 73–80 (2010).

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  • Core temperature
  • Rectal temperature
  • Latent period
  • Exercise