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Eur J Endocrinol. 2010 Dec;163(6):863-72. doi: 10.1530/EJE-10-0627. Epub 2010 Sep 8.

Minimal changes in environmental temperature result in a significant increase in energy expenditure and changes in the hormonal homeostasis in healthy adults.

Author information

1
Clinical Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1613, USA. fc93a@nih.gov

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Resting energy expenditure (EE) is a major contributor to the total EE and thus plays an important role in body weight regulation. Adaptive thermogenesis is a major component of EE in rodents, but little is known on the effects of exposure of humans to mild and sustainable reduction in environmental temperature.

DESIGN:

To characterize the dynamic changes in continuously measured resting EE, substrate utilization, and hormonal axes simultaneously in response to mild reduction in environmental temperature, we performed a cross-over intervention.

METHODS:

Twenty-five volunteers underwent two 12-h recordings of EE in whole room indirect calorimeters at 24 and 19 °C with simultaneous measurement of spontaneous movements and hormonal axes.

RESULTS:

Exposure to 19 °C resulted in an increase in plasma and urine norepinephrine levels (P<0.0001), and a 5.96% (P<0.001) increase in EE without significant changes in spontaneous physical activity. Exposure to the lower temperature resulted in a significant increase in free fatty acid levels (P<0.01), fasting insulin levels (P<0.05), and a marginal decrease in postprandial glucose levels. A small but significant (P<0.002) increase in serum free thyroxine and urinary free cortisol (P<0.05) was observed at 19 °C.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our observations indicate that exposure to 19 °C, a mild and tolerable cold temperature, results in a predictable increase in EE driven by a sustained rise in catecholamine and the activation of counter-regulatory mechanisms.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00521729.

PMID:
20826525
PMCID:
PMC3113548
DOI:
10.1530/EJE-10-0627
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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