The cardio‐respiratory effects of passive heating and the human thermoneutral zone

Henderson, M.E.T., Brayson, D. and Halsey, L.G. 2021. The cardio‐respiratory effects of passive heating and the human thermoneutral zone. Physiological Reports. 9 (16) e14973. https://doi.org/10.14814/phy2.14973

TitleThe cardio‐respiratory effects of passive heating and the human thermoneutral zone
TypeJournal article
AuthorsHenderson, M.E.T., Brayson, D. and Halsey, L.G.
Abstract

The thermoneutral zone (TNZ) defines the range of ambient temperatures at which resting metabolic rate (MR) is at a minimum. While the TNZ lower limit has been characterized, it is still unclear whether there is an upper limit, that is, beyond which MR during rest increases, and if so, what physiological upregulations explain this. We take the first step to fill this knowledge gap by measuring MR and multiple physiological variables in participants exposed to ambient heat stress while resting. Thirteen participants were exposed for an hour to 28℃-50% relative humidity (RH) air, and both 40 and 50℃ each in 25% RH and humid (50% RH) conditions. Core and skin temperatures, blood pressure, sweat-, heart-, and breathing-rate, minute ventilation, and movement levels were recorded throughout each condition. MR increased 35% (p = .015) during exposure to 40℃-25% RH compared to baseline and a further 13% (p = .000) at in 50℃-50%RH. This was not explained by increased fidgeting (p = .26), suggesting physiological upregulation. However, while greater heat stress invoked increases in heart rate (64%, p = .000), minute ventilation (78%, p = .000), and sweat rate (74%. p = .000) when comparing 50℃-50% RH with baseline, the exact size of their relative energy cost is unclear and, therefore, so is their contribution to this increase in MR. Our study shows clear evidence that resting MR increases in humans at high temperature—there is a metabolic upper critical temperature, at least as low as 40℃. Further studies should pinpoint this value and fully explain this increased MR.

Article numbere14973
JournalPhysiological Reports
Journal citation9 (16)
ISSN2051-817X
Year2021
PublisherThe Physiological Society
Publisher's version
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.14814/phy2.14973
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.14814/phy2.14973
Publication dates
PublishedAug 2021

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