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Exp Dermatol. 2019 Jan 10. doi: 10.1111/exd.13878. [Epub ahead of print]

Ageing attenuates muscarinic-mediated sweating differently in men and women with no effect on nicotinic-mediated sweating.

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Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan.
Human and Environmental Physiology Research Unit, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Departments of Medicine, Cardiac Sciences and Community Health Sciences, Faculties of Medicine and Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Faculty of Physical Activity Sciences, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.


Ageing attenuates muscarinic-mediated sweating. However, whether ageing also impairs nicotinic-mediated sweating remains unclear. Further, despite the known sex-related differences in peripheral sweat gland function, it remains unclear whether age-related modifications of muscarinic and nicotinic-mediated sweating, if any, are similar between men and women. We assessed local sweating in young and older healthy men and women (n = 11, each group) at two dorsal forearm skin sites receiving either: (a) methacholine (muscarinic receptor agonist, 5 doses: 0.0125, 0.25, 5, 100, 2000 mmol/L) or (b) nicotine (nicotinic receptor agonist, 5 doses: 1.2, 3.6, 11, 33, 100 mmol/L) via intradermal microdialysis. Age-related reductions in methacholine-induced sweating were observed at low-to-moderate doses (0.0125-5 mmol/L; all P ≤ 0.05) in men, whereas a reduction was only evident at the highest methacholine dose (2000 mmol/L; P ≤ 0.05) in women. No effect of ageing was observed for nicotine-induced sweating (all P > 0.26 for main effects of age, dose and all interactions). We showed that while healthy ageing attenuates low-to-moderate levels of muscarinic-mediated sweating in men, reductions are only observed at high levels of muscarinic-mediated sweating in women. However, healthy ageing does not modulate nicotinic-mediated sweating in either men or women.


acetylcholine; axon reflex; heat loss; sex hormones; thermoregulation


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