Heat stress modifies human baroreflex function independently of heat-induced hypovolemia

Atsunori Kamiya, Daisaku Michikami, Junichiro Hayano, Kenji Sunagawa

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Since human thermoregulatory heat loss responses, cutaneous vasodilation and sweating, cause hypovolemia, they should resultantly stimulate human baroreflexes. However, it is possible that the thermoregulatory system directly interacts with the baroreflex system through central neural connections independently of the heat-induced hypovolemia. We hypothesized that heat stress modifies the baroreflex control of sympathetic nerve activity independently of heat-induced hypovolemia in humans. We made whole-body heating with tubelined suits perfused with warm water (46-47°C) on 10 healthy male subjects. The heating increased skin and tympanic temperatures by 10.0 and 0.4°C, respectively. It increased resting total muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA, microneurography) by 94±9% and decreased central venous pressure (CVP, dependent arm technique) by 2.6±0.9 mmHg. The heating increased arterial baroreflex gain by 193%, assessed as a response of MSNA to a decrease in diastolic arterial pressure during Valsalva's maneuver, but it did not change threshold arterial pressure for MSNA activation. Although the heating did not change the cardiopulmonary baroreflex gain assessed as a response of MSNA to a change in estimated central venous pressure (CVP) during a 10° head-down and -up tilt test, it upwardly shifted the stimulus-response baroreflex relationship. These changes in baroreflex functions during heating were not restored by an intravenous infusion of warmed isotonic saline (37°C, 15 ml/kg) that restored the heat-induced reduction of CVP. Our results support our hypothesis that heat stress modifies the baroreflex control of MSNA independently of heat-induced hypovolemia in humans. Our results also suggest that the hyperthermal modification of baroreflex results from central neural interaction between thermoregulatory and baroreflex systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalJapanese journal of physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2003
Externally publishedYes



  • Arterial baroreflex
  • Cardiopulmonary baroreflex
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Heat
  • Thermoregulatory system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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