Neurophysiological Aspects of Thermoregulation

  • J. A. Boulant
  • M. C. Curras
  • J. B. Dean
Part of the Advances in Comparative and Environmental Physiology book series (COMPARATIVE, volume 4)


The ability to react to thermal challenges and regulate body temperature depends on the ability of the nervous system to sense temperature both in the environment and deep within the body core. The basis of the neural control of thermoregulation is the synaptic communication between peripheral and central thermal receptors. Peripheral cutaneous thermoreceptors relay ambient temperature (Ta) information over afferent pathways to central neurons in the lower brain stem and hypothalamus. Many of these central neurons are, themselves, thermosensitive, sensing changes in core temperature that occur, for example, during exercise or under drastic environmental conditions. Perhaps most important is the ability of these neurons to integrate this central thermal information with afferent peripheral thermal information. As a result of this integration, efferent signals are produced that select the most appropriate responses to maintain a constant central temperature.


Firing Rate Thermoregulatory Response Spontaneous Firing Rate Nonshivering Thermogenesis Neurophysiological Aspect 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Boulant
  • M. C. Curras
  • J. B. Dean
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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