Physiol. Res. 55: 543-549, 2006

Thermal, Cardiac and Adrenergic Responses to Repeated Local Cooling


1Faculty of Biology, South Bohemian University, České Budějovice, 2Faculty of Science, and 3Second Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, 4Priessnitz Spa, Jeseník, 5Research Institute of Animal Production, Uhříněves, Czech Republic

Received date July 4, 2005
Accepted date November 2, 2005
On-line available December 12, 2005

The aim of this study was to ascertain whether repeated local cooling induces the same or different adaptational responses as repeated whole body cooling. Repeated cooling of the legs (immersion into 12 °C water up to the knees for 30 min, 20 times during 4 weeks = local cold adaptation – LCA) attenuated the initial increase in heart rate and blood pressure currently observed in control subjects immersed in cold water up to the knees. After LCA the initial skin temperature decrease tended to be lower, indicating reduced vasoconstriction. Heart rate and systolic blood pressure appeared to be generally lower during rest and during the time course of cooling in LCA humans, when compared to controls. All these changes seem to indicate attenuation of the sympathetic tone. In contrast, the sustained skin temperature in different areas of the body (finger, palm, forearm, thigh, chest) appeared to be generally lower in LCA subjects than in controls (except for temperatures on the forehead). Plasma levels of catecholamines (measured 20 and 40 min after the onset of cooling) were also not influenced by local cold adaptation. Locally cold adapted subjects, when exposed to whole body cold water immersion test, showed no change in the threshold temperature for induction of cold thermogenesis. This indicates that the hypothermic type of cold adaptation, typically occurring after systemic cold adaptation, does not appear after local cold adaptation of the intensity used. It is concluded that in humans the cold adaptation due to repeated local cooling of legs induces different physiological changes than systemic cold adaptation.

Key words
Local cold adaptation • Cardiovascular and metabolic responses • Man

© 2006 by the Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences