Renal sympathetic nerve, blood flow, and epithelial transport responses to thermal stress

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18 Scopus citations


Thermal stress is a profound sympathetic stress in humans; kidney responses involve altered renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA), renal blood flow, and renal epithelial transport. During mild cold stress, RSNA spectral power but not total activity is altered, renal blood flow is maintained or decreased, and epithelial transport is altered consistent with a sympathetic stress coupled with central volume loaded state. Hypothermia decreases RSNA, renal blood flow, and epithelial transport. During mild heat stress, RSNA is increased, renal blood flow is decreased, and epithelial transport is increased consistent with a sympathetic stress coupled with a central volume unloaded state. Hyperthermia extends these directional changes, until heat illness results. Because kidney responses are very difficult to study in humans in vivo, this review describes and qualitatively evaluates an in vivo human skin model of sympathetically regulated epithelial tissue compared to that of the nephron. This model utilizes skin responses to thermal stress, involving 1) increased skin sympathetic nerve activity (SSNA), decreased skin blood flow, and suppressed eccrine epithelial transport during cold stress; and 2) increased SSNA, skin blood flow, and eccrine epithelial transport during heat stress. This model appears to mimic aspects of the renal responses. Investigations of skin responses, which parallel certain renal responses, may aid understanding of epithelial-sympathetic nervous system interactions during cold and heat stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalAutonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Adsorptive epithelial
  • Arginine vasopressin
  • Catecholamines
  • Renal sympathetic nerve activity
  • Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system
  • Secretory epithelial
  • Skin sympathetic nerve activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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