IMR Press / FBE / Volume 2 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.2741/E91

Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite (FBE) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 2 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Response of the thermoregulatory system to toxic insults
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1 Toxicology Assessment Division, Neurotoxicology Branch,National Health Effects and Environmental Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Front. Biosci. (Elite Ed) 2010, 2(1), 293–311;
Published: 1 January 2010

The physiological response to environmental toxicants and drugs is modulated by the thermoregulatory system. Environmental and body temperature can affect the entry of toxicants into the body through pulmonary, cutaneous, and gastrointestinal routes. Thermoregulation can ultimately influence the metabolic clearance of chemicals and their toxicity, including lethality. The thermoregulatory response following acute exposure to many toxic chemicals involves a regulated hypothermic response, characterized by activation of autonomic thermoeffectors to raise heat loss and a behavioral preference for cooler temperatures. Moderate hypothermia in rodents improves recovery and survival following toxic exposure. In relatively large mammals, including humans, the hypothermic response is minimal. Fever-like responses are often seen in humans and other large mammals exposed to many toxicants. Fever is also observed in rodents exposed to some toxicants provided that core temperature can be monitored without disturbing the animal (e.g., telemetry). Overall, the universal effects of temperature on chemical toxicity call for researchers to have a better understanding of how body and ambient temperature affect the physiological response to environmental toxicants.

Core Temperature
Environmental Toxicants
Skin Temperature
Heat Stress
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