Exercise, thermoregulation, and the brain

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract (Journal)


Exercise increases brain neurotransmission, and during exercise
with severe heat stress, a high body temperature may directly or
indirectly influence endurance performance, and the existence of
a “critical” core temperature has been suggested. This comes from
observations in which subjects terminate exercise at the same
individual core temperature, despite having started at different
core temperatures and having performed different exercise times.
The brain monoamines serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA) and
noradrenaline (NA) innervate different areas of the hypothalamus,
among which include the preoptic and anterior hypothalamus
(PO/AH). The PO/AH is thought to be the primary locus for body
temperature regulation. This brain area integrates thermal information
from central and peripheral thermoreceptors, and initiates
appropriate heat loss and heat production responses. It is well
known that NA and DA in these hypothalamic regions play essential
roles in thermoregulation. It can be expected that a shift in the
concentrations of these neurotransmitters contributes to changes
in thermal regulation and consequently to fatigue, specifically
when exercise is undertaken in hot environmental conditions. Core
temperature can obtain critical values while perception of effort is
suppressed. In rat studies we showed that the increase in core and
brain temperature during exercise in the heat is under dopaminergic
control. The PO/AH, the thermoregulatory centre of the brain,
will be ‘bypassed’ and therefore heat dissipation is disturbed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number84
Pages (from-to)S53-S53
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue numbersuppl 2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event4th Internaitonal Soldiers' Congress on Physical Performance - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 28 Nov 20171 Dec 2017


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