Exercise increases core body temperature (T C) due to metabolic heat production. However, the exercise-induced release of inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-6 (IL-6) may also contribute to the rise in T C by increasing the hypothalamic temperature set point. This study investigated whether the exercise-induced increase in T C is partly caused by an altered hypothalamic temperature set point.
Fifteen healthy, active men age 36 ± 14 y were recruited. Subjects performed submaximal treadmill exercise in 3 randomized test conditions: (1) 400 mg ibuprofen and 1000 mg acetaminophen (IBU/APAP), (2) 1000 mg acetaminophen (APAP), and (3) a control condition (CTRL). Acetaminophen and ibuprofen were used to block the effect of IL-6 at a central and peripheral level, respectively. T C, skin temperature, and heart rate were measured continuously during the submaximal exercise tests.
Baseline values of T C, skin temperature, and heart rate did not differ across conditions. Serum IL-6 concentrations increased in all 3 conditions. A significantly lower peak T C was observed in IBU/APAP (38.8°C ± 0.4°C) vs CTRL (39.2°C ± 0.5°C, P = .02) but not in APAP (38.9°C ± 0.4°C) vs CTRL. Similarly, a lower ΔT C was observed in IBU/APAP (1.7°C ± 0.3°C) vs CTRL (2.0°C ± 0.5°C, P < .02) but not in APAP (1.7°C ± 0.5°C) vs CTRL. No differences were observed in skin temperature and heart-rate responses across conditions.
The combined administration of acetaminophen and ibuprofen resulted in an attenuated increase in T C during exercise compared with a CTRL. This observation suggests that a prostaglandin-E2-induced elevated hypothalamic temperature set point may contribute to the exercise-induced rise in T C.