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Review

Physiological and Behavioral Mechanisms of Thermoregulation in Mammals

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Neurophysiology, Behavior and Animal Welfare Assessment, DPAA, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM), Unidad Xochimilco, Mexico City 04960, Mexico
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Laboratório de Biometeorologia e Etologia, FZEA-USP, Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos, Universidade de São Paulo, Pirassununga 13635-900, SP, Brazil
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Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Cuernavaca 62209, Mexico
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Animal Health Group, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, Victoria City 87000, Mexico
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State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pests Insects and Rodents, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michael Lindinger
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1733; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061733
Received: 19 May 2021 / Revised: 6 June 2021 / Accepted: 7 June 2021 / Published: 10 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermal stress - Thermoregulatory and Adaptive Responses of Livestock)
The study of the hypothalamic neuromodulation of thermoregulation offers broad areas of opportunity with practical applications that are currently being strengthened by the availability of efficacious tools like infrared thermography (IRT). This review analyzes the effect of climate change on behavior and productivity; and the effects of exercise on animals involved in sporting activities; identifies the microvascular changes that occur in response to fear, pleasure, pain, and other situations that induce stress in animals; and examines thermoregulating behaviors.
This review analyzes the main anatomical structures and neural pathways that allow the generation of autonomous and behavioral mechanisms that regulate body heat in mammals. The study of the hypothalamic neuromodulation of thermoregulation offers broad areas of opportunity with practical applications that are currently being strengthened by the availability of efficacious tools like infrared thermography (IRT). These areas could include the following: understanding the effect of climate change on behavior and productivity; analyzing the effects of exercise on animals involved in sporting activities; identifying the microvascular changes that occur in response to fear, pleasure, pain, and other situations that induce stress in animals; and examining thermoregulating behaviors. This research could contribute substantially to understanding the drastic modification of environments that have severe consequences for animals, such as loss of appetite, low productivity, neonatal hypothermia, and thermal shock, among others. Current knowledge of these physiological processes and complex anatomical structures, like the nervous systems and their close relation to mechanisms of thermoregulation, is still limited. The results of studies in fields like evolutionary neuroscience of thermoregulation show that we cannot yet objectively explain even processes that on the surface seem simple, including behavioral changes and the pathways and connections that trigger mechanisms like vasodilatation and panting. In addition, there is a need to clarify the connection between emotions and thermoregulation that increases the chances of survival of some organisms. An increasingly precise understanding of thermoregulation will allow us to design and apply practical methods in fields like animal science and clinical medicine without compromising levels of animal welfare. The results obtained should not only increase the chances of survival but also improve quality of life and animal production. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermal biology; thermoregulating behaviors; temperature modulation; cutaneous circulation; vascular microcirculation thermal biology; thermoregulating behaviors; temperature modulation; cutaneous circulation; vascular microcirculation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mota-Rojas, D.; Titto, C.G.; Orihuela, A.; Martínez-Burnes, J.; Gómez-Prado, J.; Torres-Bernal, F.; Flores-Padilla, K.; Carvajal-de la Fuente, V.; Wang, D. Physiological and Behavioral Mechanisms of Thermoregulation in Mammals. Animals 2021, 11, 1733. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061733

AMA Style

Mota-Rojas D, Titto CG, Orihuela A, Martínez-Burnes J, Gómez-Prado J, Torres-Bernal F, Flores-Padilla K, Carvajal-de la Fuente V, Wang D. Physiological and Behavioral Mechanisms of Thermoregulation in Mammals. Animals. 2021; 11(6):1733. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061733

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mota-Rojas, Daniel, Cristiane G. Titto, Agustín Orihuela, Julio Martínez-Burnes, Jocelyn Gómez-Prado, Fabiola Torres-Bernal, Karla Flores-Padilla, Verónica Carvajal-de la Fuente, and Dehua Wang. 2021. "Physiological and Behavioral Mechanisms of Thermoregulation in Mammals" Animals 11, no. 6: 1733. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061733

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