The influence of local skin temperature on the sweat glands maximum ion reabsorption rate
Changes in mean skin temperature (Tsk) have been shown to modify the maximum rate of sweat ion reabsorption. This study aims to extend this knowledge by investigating if modifications could also be caused by local Tsk.
The influence of local Tsk on the sweat gland maximum ion reabsorption rates was investigated in ten healthy volunteers (three female and seven male; 20.8 ± 1.2 years, 60.4 ± 7.7 kg, 169.4 ± 10.4 cm) during passive heating (water-perfused suit and lower leg water immersion). In two separate trials, in a randomized order, one forearm was always manipulated to 33 °C (Neutral), whilst the other was manipulated to either 30 °C (Cool) or 36 °C (Warm) using water-perfused patches. Oesophageal temperature (Tes), forearm Tsk, sweat rate (SR), galvanic skin conductance (GSC) and salivary aldosterone concentrations were measured. The sweat gland maximum ion reabsorption rates were identified using the ∆SR threshold for an increasing ∆GSC.
Thermal [Tes and body temperature (Tb)] and non-thermal responses (aldosterone) were similar across all conditions (p > 0.05). A temperature-dependent response for the sweat gland maximum ion reabsorption rates was evident between 30 °C (0.18 ± 0.10 mg/cm2/min) and 36 °C (0.28 ± 0.14 mg/cm2/min, d = 0.88, p < 0.05), but not for 33 °C (0.22 ± 0.12 mg/cm2/min), d = 0.44 and d = 0.36, p > 0.05.
The data indicate that small variations in local Tsk may not affect the sweat gland maximum ion reabsorption rates but when the local Tsk increases by > 6 °C, ion reabsorption rates also increase.
KeywordsSweat ion regulation Sweat glands Skin temperature Aldosterone
Analysis of variance
Cystic fibrosis transmembrane channels
Cutaneous vascular conductance (%)
Epithelial sodium channel
Galvanic skin conductance (µS)
Heat-activated sweat glands
Heart rate (bpm)
Mean arterial pressure (mmHG)
Sweat gland output
Sweat rate (mg/cm2/min)
Body temperature (°C)
Oesophageal temperature (°C)
Skin temperature (°C)
Maximum oxygen uptake (ml/kg/min)
We thank our participants for volunteering their time. We also thank Drs S. Koga and D. Okushima for their insightful comments during the preparation of this manuscript. Finally, we thank Dr Koji Sato for his assistance with aldosterone analysis. This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (16H04851 and 17H0253) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan.
Nicola Gerrett, Tatsuro Amano and Narihiko Kondo conceived and designed the research. Nicola Gerrett conducted all experiments and analysed the data. All authors were involved in the interpretation of the data. Nicola Gerrett drafted the manuscript and all authors read, edited and approved the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.
- Bulmer MG, Forwell GD (1956) The concentration of sodium in thermal sweat. J Physiol 32:5–122Google Scholar
- Cohen J (1977) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, HillsdaleGoogle Scholar
- Gagge AP, Nishi Y (2011) Heat exchange between human skin surface and thermal environment. In: Comprehensive physiology. Wiley, Hoboken, pp 69–92Google Scholar
- Hegarty J, Harvey BJ (1998) Aldosterone increases intracellular calcium in cultured human sweat gland epithelial cells by a non-genomic mechanism of action. J Physiol 511:36PGoogle Scholar
- Machado-Moreira CA, Edkins E, Iabushita AS et al (2009) Sweat gland recruitment following thermal and psychological stimuli. In: Castellini JW (ed) 13th international conference of environmental ergonomics, Boston, MA, USAGoogle Scholar
- Robinson S, Gerking SD, Tuerell ES, Kincaid RK (1985) Effects of skin temperature of salt concentration of sweat. J Appl Physiol 2:654–662Google Scholar
- Sato K (1977) The physiology, pharmacology, and biochemistry of the eccrine sweat gland. Springer, Berlin, pp 51–131Google Scholar