F1000Research (2016-05-01)

Central control of body temperature [version 1; referees: 3 approved]

  • Shaun F. Morrison

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 5


Read online

Central neural circuits orchestrate the behavioral and autonomic repertoire that maintains body temperature during environmental temperature challenges and alters body temperature during the inflammatory response and behavioral states and in response to declining energy homeostasis. This review summarizes the central nervous system circuit mechanisms controlling the principal thermoeffectors for body temperature regulation: cutaneous vasoconstriction regulating heat loss and shivering and brown adipose tissue for thermogenesis. The activation of these thermoeffectors is regulated by parallel but distinct efferent pathways within the central nervous system that share a common peripheral thermal sensory input. The model for the neural circuit mechanism underlying central thermoregulatory control provides a useful platform for further understanding of the functional organization of central thermoregulation, for elucidating the hypothalamic circuitry and neurotransmitters involved in body temperature regulation, and for the discovery of novel therapeutic approaches to modulating body temperature and energy homeostasis.