Central Nervous System Regulation of Body Temperature

Shaun F. Morrison, William W. Blessing

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    The maintenance of body temperature is an essential behavior in the homeostatic repertoire orchestrated by central neural circuits. Thermoregulatory pathways optimize cellular and organ function at rest and in response to the demands of behavior, environmental temperature challenges and inflammation, and infectious disease processes. An overview of the functional organization of thermoregulatory mechanisms is presented. This chapter summarizes the research leading to our current understanding of the neural pathways and the neurotransmitter systems through which thermal and pyrogenic afferent signaling alters the activity of thermoregulatory effectors. These effectors include the cutaneous circulation for control of heat loss, the brown adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and the heart for thermogenesis, and the various species-dependent mechanisms of evaporative heat loss. The activation of thermoregulatory effectors is regulated by parallel but distinct, effector-specific, core efferent pathways within the central nervous system that share a common peripheral thermal sensory input.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCentral Regulation of Autonomic Functions
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Electronic)9780199894130
    ISBN (Print)9780195306637
    Publication statusPublished - May 2011


    • Brown adipose tissue
    • Cutaneous vasoconstriction
    • Fever
    • Heat loss
    • Homeostasis
    • Inflammation
    • Shiver
    • Sympathetic nervous system
    • Thermogenesis
    • Thermoregulation


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