Central Mechanisms for Thermoregulation

S. F. Morrison, K. Nakamura

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


Maintenance of a homeostatic body core temperature is a critical brain function accomplished by a central neural network. This orchestrates a complex behavioral and autonomic repertoire in response to environmental temperature challenges or declining energy homeostasis and in support of immune responses and many behavioral states. This review summarizes the anatomical, neurotransmitter, and functional relationships within the central neural network that controls the principal thermoeffectors: cutaneous vasoconstriction regulating heat loss and shivering and brown adipose tissue for heat production. The core thermoregulatory network regulating these thermoeffectors consists of parallel but distinct central efferent pathways that share a common peripheral thermal sensory input. Delineating the neural circuit mechanism underlying central thermoregulation provides a useful platform for exploring its functional organization, elucidating the molecular underpinnings of its neuronal interactions, and discovering novel therapeutic approaches to modulating body temperature and energy homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-308
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Physiology
StatePublished - Feb 10 2019


  • brown adipose tissue
  • fever
  • hypothermia
  • preoptic hypothalamus
  • shivering
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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