Role of skin blood flow and sweating rate in exercise thermoregulation after bed rest

Stuart M C Lee, W Jon Williams, Suzanne M Schneider
Journal of Applied Physiology 2002, 92 (5): 2026-34
Two potential mechanisms, reduced skin blood flow (SBF) and sweating rate (SR), may be responsible for elevated intestinal temperature (T(in)) during exercise after bed rest and spaceflight. Seven men underwent 13 days of 6 degrees head-down bed rest. Pre- and post-bed rest, subjects completed supine submaximal cycle ergometry (20 min at 40% and 20 min at 65% of pre-bed rest supine peak exercise capacity) in a thermoneutral room. After bed rest, T(in) was elevated at rest (+0.31 +/- 0.12 degrees C) and at the end of exercise (+0.33 +/- 0.07 degrees C). Percent increase in SBF during exercise was less after bed rest (211 +/- 53 vs. 96 +/- 31%; P < or = 0.05), SBF/T(in) threshold was greater (37.09 +/- 0.16 vs. 37.33 +/- 0.13 degrees C; P < or = 0.05), and slope of SBF/T(in) tended to be reduced (536 +/- 184 vs. 201 +/- 46%/ degrees C; P = 0.08). SR/T(in) threshold was delayed (37.06 +/- 0.11 vs. 37.34 +/- 0.06 degrees C; P < or = 0.05), but the slope of SR/T(in) (3.45 +/- 1.22 vs. 2.58 +/- 0.71 mg x min-1 x cm-2 x degrees C-1) and total sweat loss (0.42 +/- 0.06 vs. 0.44 +/- 0.08 kg) were not changed. The higher resting and exercise T(in) and delayed onset of SBF and SR suggest a centrally mediated elevation in the thermoregulatory set point during bed rest exposure.

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