Thirst pp 422-442 | Cite as

Effects of Environmental Stresses and Privations on Thirst

  • M. J. Fregly
  • N. E. Rowland
Part of the ILSI Human Nutrition Reviews book series (ILSI HUMAN)


The adverse environment that is most closely associated with thirst in the minds of most laymen as well as scientists is a hot, dry environment, e.g. the desert. Descriptions of the tortures of thirst in such an environment when water is not available can be found in many novels and other publications. Although less well known, other adverse environments can also affect thirst and drinking, e.g. cold and hypoxia. An objective of this review is to attempt a comparison among these three environments with respect to their effects on fluid exchange and drinking in experimental animals. Where possible, the mechanisms contributing to the changes observed will be discussed.


Water Intake Plasma Renin Activity Water Deprivation Plasma Osmolality Serum Osmolality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abraham SF, Denton DA, McKinley MJ, Weisinger RS (1976) Effect of an angiotensin antagonist, Sar1-Ala8- Angiotensin II on physiological thirst. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 4:243–247PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adolph EF (1950) Thirst and its inhibition in the stomach. Am J Physiol 161:374–386PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Adolph EF (1957) Regulation of water metabolism in stress. Brookhaven Symp Biol 10:147–161PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Adolph EF, Barker JP, Hoy PA (1954) Multiple factors in thirst. Am J Physiol 178:538–562PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Barker JP, Adolph EF, Keller AD (1953) Thirst tests in dogs and modifications of thirst with experimental lesions of the neurohypophysis. Am J Physiol 171:233–238Google Scholar
  6. Barney CC, Katovich MJ, Fregly MJ (1980) The effect of acute administration of an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor, Captopril (SQ 14,225), on experimentally induced thirsts in rats. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 212:53–57PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Barney CC, Threatte RM, Fregly MJ (1983) Water deprivation-induced drinking in rats: role of angiotensin II. Am J Physiol 244 (Reg Integ Comp Physiol 13):R244–R248PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Block ML, Fisher AE (1975) Cholinergic and dopaminergic blocking agents modulate water intake elicited by deprivation, hypovolemia, hypertonicity and isoproterenol. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 3:251–262PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boulze D, Montastruc P, Cabanac M (1983) Water intake, pleasure and water temperature in humans. Physiol Behav 30:97–102PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bray GA (1965) Rhythmic changes in renal function in the rat. Am J Physiol 209:1187–1192PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Capponi AM, Gourjon M, Vallotton MB (1977) Effect of beta-blocking agents and angiotensin II on isoproterenol-stimulated renin release from rat kidney slices. Circ Res 40:89–93Google Scholar
  12. Cizek LJ, Nocenti MR (1965) Relationship between water and food ingestion in the rat. Am J Physiol 208:615–620PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Conley CL, Nickerson JL (1945) Effects of temperature change on the water balance in man. Am J Physiol 143:373–384Google Scholar
  14. Dugal LP, LeBlond CP, Therien M (1945) Resistance to extreme temperatures in connection with different diets. Can J Res 23:244–258PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fitzsimons JT (1979) The physiology of thirst and sodium appetite. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 128–265; 383–391Google Scholar
  16. Fitzsimons JT, Setler PE (1975) The relative importance of central nervous catecholaminergic and cholinergic mechanisms in drinking in response to angiotensin and other thirst stimuli. J Physiol (Lond) 250:613–631Google Scholar
  17. Fregly MJ (1954) Effect of extremes of temperature on hypertensive rats. Am J Physiol 176:275–281PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Fregly MJ (1967) Effect of exposure to cold on evaporative loss from rats. Am J Physiol 213:1003–1008PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Fregly MJ (1968) Water and electrolyte exchange in rats exposed to cold. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 46:873–881PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fregly MJ (1971) Thirst immediately following removal of rats from graded levels of hypoxia. Proc Soc Exper Biol Med 138:448–453Google Scholar
  21. Fregly MJ (1982) Thermogenic drinking: mediation by osmoreceptor and angiotensin II pathways. Fed Proc 41:2515–2519PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Fregly MJ Kelleher DL (1980) Antidipsogenic effect of Clonidine on isoproterenol-induced water intake. Appetite 1:279–289Google Scholar
  23. Fregly MJ, Mac Arthur SA (1990) Some characteristics of post-hypoxia-induced drinking in rats. Aviat Space Environ Med (in press)Google Scholar
  24. Fregly MJ, Nelson EL Jr (1989) Hormonal interaction in maintenance of fluid and electrolyte homeostasis in cold-exposed rats. In: Mercer JB (ed) Thermal physiology. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 593–599Google Scholar
  25. Fregly MJ, Rowland NE (1986) Role for alpha2- adrenoceptors in experimentally-induced drinking in rats. In: de Caro G, Epstein AN, Massi M (eds) The physiology of thirst and sodium appetite. Plenum Press, New York, pp 509–519Google Scholar
  26. Fregly MJ, Rowland NE (1988) Augmentation of isoproterenol-induced drinking by acute treatment with certain dopaminergic agonists. Physiol Behav 44:473–481PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fregly MJ, Tyler PE (1972) Renal response of cold-exposed rats to pitressin and dehydration. Am J Physiol 222:1065–1070PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Fregly MJ, Waters IW (1966a) Water intake of rats immediately after exposure to a cold environment. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 44:651–662PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fregly MJ, Waters IW (1966b) Posthypoxic drinking response of rats. Fed Proc 25:1220–1226PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Fregly MJ, Lutherer LO, Tyler PE (1972) Variation of both ambient temperature and duration of cold exposure on water intake following removal from cold. In: Smith RE, Hannon JP, Shields JL, Horwitz BA (eds) International symposium on environmental physiology: bioenergetics. FASEB, Washington, DC, pp 96–100Google Scholar
  31. Fregly MJ, Lutherer LO, Tyler PE (1974) The effect of exposure to cold, hypoxia and both combined on water exchange in rats. Aerospace Med 45:1223–1231PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Fregly MJ, Kaplan BJ, Brown JG, Nelson EL Jr, Tyler PE (1976) Effect of water temperature during cold exposure on thermogenic drinking in rats. J Appl Physiol 41:497–501PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Fregly MJ, Katovich MJ, Tyler PE, Dasler R (1978) Inhibition of thermogenic drinking by beta-adrenergic antagonists. Aviat Space Environ Med 49:861–867PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Fregly MJ, Barney CC, Katovich MJ, Miller EA (1979) Effect of water temperature on isoproterenol-induced water intake. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 160:359–362PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Fregly MJ, Lockley OE, Simpson CE (1981) Effect of the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor, Captopril, on development of renal hypertension in rats. Pharmacology 22:277–285PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Fregly MJ, Fater DC, Greenleaf JE (1982) Effect of the angiotensin I converting enzyme inhibitor, MK-421, on experimentally induced drinking. Appetite 3:309–319PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Fregly MJ, Rowland NE, Greenleaf JE (1984) A role for presynaptic alpha2- adrenoceptors in angiotensin II-induced drinking in rats. Brain Res Bull 12:393–398PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Gaunt R, Lloyd CW, Chart JJ (1957) The adrenal neurohypophyseal interrelationship. In: Heller H (ed) The neurohypophysis. Butterworths, London, pp 233–250Google Scholar
  39. Greenleaf JE, Fregly MJ (1982) Dehydration-induced drinking: peripheral and central aspects. Fed Proc 41:2507–2508PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Hainsworth FR, Stricker EM, Epstein AN (1968) Water metabolism of rats in the heat: dehydration and drinking. Am J Physiol 214:983–989PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Itoh S (1954) The release of antidiuretic hormone from the posterior pituitary body on exposure to heat. Jpn J Physiol 4:185–190PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Itoh S, Toyomasu Y, Konno T (1959) Water diuresis in cold environment. Jpn J Physiol 9:438–443PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kapatos G, Gold RM (1972) Tongue cooling during drinking: a regulator of water intake in rats. Science 176:685–686PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Katovich MJ, Barney CC, Fregly MJ, Tyler PE, Dasler R (1979) Relationship between thermogenic drinking and plasma renin activity in the rat. Aviat Space Environ Med 50:721–724PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Klein LA, Liberman B, Laks M, Kleeman CR (1971) Interrelated effects of antidiuretic hormone and adrenergic drugs on water metabolism. Am J Physiol 221:1657–1665PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Kodama AM, Pace N (1964) Effect of environmental temperature on hamster body fat composition. J Appl Physiol 19:863–867PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Leblanc J (1957) Prefeeding of high fat diet and resistance of rats to intense cold. Can J Biochem Physiol 35:25–30PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Leduc J (1961) Catecholamine production and release in exposure and acclimatization to cold. Acta Physiol Scand 53 (Suppl 183):1–101Google Scholar
  49. Lee M, Thrasher TN, Ramsay DJ (1981) Is angiotensin essential in drinking induced by water deprivation and cavai ligation? Am J Physiol 240 (Reg Integ Comp Physiol 9):R75–R80PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Lehr D, Goldman HW, Casner P (1973) Renin angiotensin role in thirst: paradoxical enhancement of drinking by angiotensin converting enzyme inhibition. Science 82:1031–1032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Malvin RL, Mouw D, Vander AJ (1977) Angiotensin physiological role in water-deprivation-induced thirst of rats. Science 197:171–173PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Mendelson J, Chillag D (1970) Tongue cooling: a new reward for thirsty rodents. Science 170:1418–1420PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Miescher E, Fortney SM (1989) Responses to dehydration and rehydration during heat exposure in young and older men. Am J Physiol 257 (Reg Integ Comp Physiol 26):R1050–R1056PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Munday KA, Blane GF (1960) Changes in electrolytes and 17-oxysteroids in the rat subjected to a cold environment. J Endocrinol 20:266–275PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Nelson EL, Fregly MJ, Tyler PE (1974) Effects of water temperature on post-cold exposure drinking response of rats. Am J Physiol 227:977–980PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Nelson EL Jr, Fregly MJ, Tyler PE (1975) Factors affecting thermogenic drinking in rats. Am J Physiol 228:1875–1879PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Oatley K (1973) Stimulation and theory of thirst. In: Epstein AN, Kissileff HR, Stellar E (eds) The neuropsychology of thirst: new findings and advances in concepts. Winston, Washington, DC, pp 199–223Google Scholar
  58. Olsson K (1975) Attenuation of dehydrative thirst by lowering the CSF [Na+]. Acta Physiol Scand 94:536–538PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Pagé E, Babineau LM (1953) The effects of diet and cold on body composition and fat distribution in the white rat. Can J Med Sci 31:22–40PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Pagé E, Chenier L (1953) Effects of diet and cold environment on respiratory quotient of the white rat. Rev Can Biol 12:530–541PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Paque C (1980) Saharan Bedouins and the salt water of the Sahara: a model for salt intake. In: Kare MR, Fregly MJ, Bernard RA (eds) Biological and behavioral aspects of salt intake. Academic Press, New York, pp 31–47Google Scholar
  62. Picon-Reategui E, Fryers CR, Berlin NI, Lawrence JH (1953) Effect of reducing the atmospheric pressure on body water content of rats. Am J Physiol 172:33–36PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Radford EP Jr (1959) Factors modifying water metabolism in rats fed dry diets. Am J Physiol 196:1098–1108PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Ramsay DJ, Reid IA (1975) Some central mechanisms of thirst in the dog. J Physiol (Lond) 253:517–525Google Scholar
  65. Ramsay DJ, Rolls BJ, Wood RJ (1977) Body fluid changes which influence drinking in the water deprived rat. J Physiol (Lond) 266:453–469Google Scholar
  66. Rogers TA, Setliff JA, Klopping JC (1964) Energy cost, fluid and electrolyte balance in subarctic survival situations. J Appl Physiol 19:1–8PubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Rolls BJ, Wood RJ, Rolls ET (1980) Thirst: the initiation, maintenance and termination of drinking. Prog Psychobiol Physiol Psychol 9:263–321Google Scholar
  68. Rothstein A, Adolph EF, Wills JH (1947) Voluntary dehydration. In: Adolph EF and associates (eds) Physiology of man in the desert. Interscience, New York, pp 254–270Google Scholar
  69. Rowland N, Engle DJ (1977) Feeding and drinking interactions after acute butyrophenone administration. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 7:295–301PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sadowski J, Nazar K, Szczepanska-Sadowska E (1972) Reduced urine concentration in dogs exposed to cold: relation to plasma ADH and 17-OHCS. Am J Physiol 222:607–610PubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Sandick BL, Engle DB, Maller O (1984) Perception of drinking water temperature and effects for humans after exercise. Physiol Behav 32:851–855PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Severs WB, Klase PA (1978) Drinking in water-deprived rats after combined central angiotensin receptor and converting enzyme blockage. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 9:259–260PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Severs WB, Kapsha JM, Klase PA, Keil LC (1977) Drinking behavior in water deprived rats after angiotensin receptor blockade. Pharmacology 15:254–358PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sisson GM, Fregly MJ (1955) A simplified apparatus for chronic exposure of rats to low oxygen tension. J Appl Physiol 8:128–131PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Sobocinska J, Kozlowski S (1987) Osmotic thirst suppression in dogs exposed to low ambient temperature. Physiol Behav 40:171–175PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Spealman CR, Yamamoto W, Bixby EW, Newton M (1948) Observations on energy metabolism and water balance of men subjected to warm and cold environments. Am J Physiol 152:233–241PubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Straw JA, Fregly MJ (1967) Evaluation of thyroid and adrenal-pituitary function during cold stimulation. J Appl Physiol 23:825–830PubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. Stricker EM (1978) The renin-angiotensin system and thirst: some unanswered questions. Fed Proc 37:2704–2710PubMedGoogle Scholar
  79. Sundstroem ES, Michaels G (1942) The adrenal cortex in adaptation to altitude, climate, and cancer. Mem Univ Calif 12:1–409Google Scholar
  80. Swann HG, Collings WD (1943) The extent of water loss by rats at lowered barometric pressures. J Aviat Med 14:114–118Google Scholar
  81. Weber MA, Stokes FS, Gain JM (1974) Comparison of the effects on renin release of beta adrenergic antagonists with differing properties. J Clin Invest 54:1413–1419PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Wilson KM, Rowland N, Fregly MJ (1984) Drinking: a final common pathway? Appetite 5:31–38PubMedGoogle Scholar
  83. Yamaguchi K (1981) Effects of water deprivation on immunoreactive angiotensin II levels in plasma, cerebroventricular perfusate and hypothalamus of the rat. Acta Endocrinol 97:137–144PubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. Young DR, Cook SF (1955) Body lipids in small mammals following prolonged exposures to high and low temperatures. Am J Physiol 181:72–74PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Fregly
  • N. E. Rowland

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations