The physiology of heat regulation

P. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Heat regulation is presented as the physiological method of handling metabolic heat, instead of temperature regulation. Experimental evidence of heat regulation from the literature is reviewed, including more than 20 years of calorimetric studies by the author. Changes in heat production are followed by slow exponential changes in heat loss, which produce changes in body beat storage. Heat balance occurs at many levels of heat production throughout the day and night, and at each level there is a related level of rectal temperature. Heat flow can be sensed by the transcutaneous temperature gradient. The controller for heat loss appears to operate like a servomechanism, with feedback from heat loss and possibly feedforward from heat production. Physiological responses defend the body heat content, but heat content varies over a range that is related to heat load. Changes in body heat content drive deep body temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R838-R850
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4 37-4
StatePublished - 1995


  • calorimetry
  • control systems
  • exercise
  • exponential responses
  • external work
  • heat balance
  • heat loss
  • heat production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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