Exercise activates compensatory thermoregulatory reaction in rats: a modeling study

Yeonjoo Yoo, Michelle La Pradd, Hannah Kline, Maria V. Zaretskaia, Abolhassan Behrouzvaziri, Daniel E. Rusyniak, Yaroslav I. Molkov, Dmitry V. Zaretsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


The importance of exercise is increasingly emphasized for maintaining health. However, exercise itself can pose threats to health such as the development of exertional heat shock in warm environments. Therefore, it is important to understand how the thermoregulation system adjusts during exercise and how alterations of this can contribute to heat stroke. To explore this we measured the core body temperature of rats (Tc) running for 15 min on a treadmill at various speeds in two ambient temperatures (Ta = 25°A and 32°A). We assimilated the experimental data into a mathematical model that describes temperature changes in two compartments of the body, representing the muscles and the core. In our model the core body generates heat to maintain normal body temperature, and dissipates it into the environment. The muscles produce additional heat during exercise. According to the estimation of model parameters, at Ta = 25°A, the heat generation in the core was progressively reduced with the increase of the treadmill speed to compensate for a progressive increase in heat production by the muscles. This compensation was ineffective at Ta 32°A, which resulted in an increased rate of heat accumulation with increasing speed, as opposed to the Ta = 25°A case. Interestingly, placing an animal on a treadmill increased heat production in the muscles even when the treadmill speed was zero. Quantitatively, this "ready-to-run" phenomenon accounted for over half of the heat generation in the muscles observed at maximal treadmill speed. We speculate that this anticipatory response utilizes stress-related circuitry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1400-1410
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2015


  • Body temperature
  • Exercise
  • Thermoregulation
  • Treadmill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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