Individual variation in body temperature and energy expenditure in response to mild cold

W.D. van Marken Lichtenbelt*, P. Schrauwen, S. van de Kerckhove, M.S. Westerterp-Plantenga

*Corresponding author for this work

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Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. MarkenLichtenbelt@HB.unimaas.NL

We studied interindividual variation in body temperature and energy expenditure, the relation between these two, and the effect of mild decrease in environmental temperature (16 vs. 22 degrees C) on both body temperature and energy expenditure. Nine males stayed three times for 60 h (2000-0800) in a respiration chamber, once at 22 degrees C and twice at 16 degrees C, in random order. Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure, thermic effect of food, sleeping metabolic rate, activity-induced energy expenditure, and rectal and skin temperatures were measured. A rank correlation test with data of 6 test days showed significant interindividual variation in both rectal and skin temperatures and energy expenditures adjusted for body composition. Short-term exposure of the subjects to 16 degrees C caused a significant decrease in body temperature (both skin and core), an increase in temperature gradients, and an increase in energy expenditure. The change in body temperature gradients was negatively related to changes in energy expenditure. This shows that interindividual differences exist with respect to the relative contribution of metabolic and insulative adaptations to cold.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1077-E1083
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology : Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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