Altered thermoregulatory responses after 15 days of head-down tilt

C. G. Crandall, J. M. Johnson, V. A. Convertino, P. B. Raven, K. A. Engelke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


To determine whether extended exposure to a simulation of microgravity alters thermoregulatory reflex control of skin blood flow, six adult males (mean age 40 ± 2 yr) were exposed to 15 days of 6° head-down tilt (HDT). On an ambulatory control day before HDT exposure and on HDT day 15, the core temperature of each subject was increased by 0.5-1.0°C by whole body heating with a water-perfused suit. Mean skin temperature, oral temperature (T(or)), mean arterial pressure, and forearm blood flow were measured throughout the protocol. Forearm vascular conductance (FVC) was calculated from the ratio of forearm blood flow to mean arterial pressure. After HDT exposure, the T(or) threshold at which reflex thermally induced increases in FVC began was elevated (36.87 ± 0.06 to 37.00 ± 0.09°C; P = 0.043), whereas the slope of the T(or)-FVC relationship after this threshold was reduced (13.7 ± 2.3 to 9.5 ± 1.1 FVC units/°C; P = 0.038). Moreover, normothermic FVC and FVC at the highest common T(or) between pre- and post-HDT trials were reduced after HDT (normothermic: 4.2 ± 0.5 to 3.0 ± 0.4 ml · 100 ml-1 · min-1 · 100 mmHg-1, P < 0.04; hyperthermic: 12.4 ± 1.0 to 7.8 ± 0.7 ml · 100 ml-1 · min-1 · 100 mmHg-1, P < 0.001). These data suggest that HDT exposure reduces thermoregulatory responses to heat stress. The mechanisms resulting in such an impaired thermoregulatory response are unknown but are likely related to the relative dehydration that accompanies this exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1863-1867
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994


  • bed rest
  • microgravity
  • skin blood flow
  • spaceflight
  • temperature regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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