Effect of reflex and mechanical decreases in skin perfusion on thermal- and agonist-induced eccrine sweating in humans

Kristen Metzler-Wilson, Milie M. Fang, Kenan Alibegovic, James W. Daggett, Seetharam C. Narra, Robert P. Dazé, Olivia G. Miller, Thad E. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In humans, skin blood flux (SkBF) and eccrine sweating are tightly coupled, suggesting common neural control and regulation. This study was designed to separate these two sympathetic nervous system end-organ responses via nonadrenergic SkBF-decreasing mechanical perturbations during heightened sudomotor drive. We induced sweating physiologically via whole body heat stress using a high-density tube-lined suit (protocol 1; 2 women, 4 men), and pharmacologically via forearm intradermal microdialysis of two steady-state doses of a cholinergic agonist, pilocarpine (protocol 2; 4 women, 3 men). During sweating induction, we decreased SkBF via three mechanical perturbations: arm and leg dependency to engage the cutaneous venoarteriolar response (CVAR), limb venous occlusion to engage the CVAR and decrease perfusion pressure, and limb arterial occlusion to cause ischemia. In protocol 1, heat stress increased arm cutaneous vascular conductance and forearm sweat rate (capacitance hygrometry). During heat stress, despite decreases in SkBF during each of the acute (3 min) mechanical perturbations, eccrine sweat rate was unaffected. During heat stress with extended (10 min) ischemia, sweat rate decreased. In protocol 2, both pilocarpine doses (ED50 and EMAX) increased SkBF and sweat rate. Each mechanical perturbation resulted in decreased SkBF but minimal changes in eccrine sweat rate. Taken together, these data indicate that a wide range of acute decreases in SkBF do not appear to proportionally decrease either physiologically- or pharmacologically induced eccrine sweating in peripheral skin. This preservation of evaporative cooling despite acutely decreased SkBF could have consequential impacts for heat storage and balance during changes in body posture, limb position, or blood flow restrictive conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R271-R280
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023


  • limb dependency
  • skin blood flux
  • sweat glands
  • venoarteriolar response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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