Regulation of Organic Metabolism and Energy Balance
a role, too. In addition to their effects on temperature, IL-1
and the other peptides have many other effects (described in
Chapter 18) that enhance resistance to infection and promote
the healing of damaged tissue.
The story is even more complicated, however, because
in response to a rising temperature the hypothalamus and
other tissues release messengers that prevent excessive fever
or contribute to the resetting of body temperature when the
fever-causing stimulus is eliminated. Such messengers are
One known endogenous
cryogen is vasopressin, which functions in this regard as a
neurotransmitter rather than as a hormone.
One would expect fever, which is such a consistent
feature of infection, to play some important protective role.
Most evidence suggests that this is the case. For example,
increased body temperature stimulates a large number of
the body’s defensive responses to infection. The likelihood
that fever is a beneﬁ cial response raises important questions
about the use of aspirin and other drugs to suppress fever
during infection. It must be emphasized that these questions
apply to the usual modest fevers. There is no question that
an extremely high fever can be harmful, particularly in its
effects on the central nervous system, and must be vigorously
opposed with drugs and other forms of therapy.
To reiterate, fever is an increased body temperature
caused by an elevation of the thermal set point. When body
temperature is elevated for any other reason beyond a narrow
normal range, it is termed
The most common
cause of hyperthermia in a typical person is exercise; the rise
in body temperature above set point is due to retention of
some of the internal heat generated by the exercising muscles.
As shown in
, heat production rises
immediately during the initial stage of exercise and exceeds
heat loss, causing heat storage in the body and a rise in the
core temperature. This rise in core temperature triggers
reﬂ exes, via the central thermoreceptors, that cause increased
heat loss. As skin blood ﬂ ow and sweating increase, the
discrepancy between heat production and heat loss starts to
diminish but does not disappear. Therefore, core temperature
continues to rise. Ultimately, core temperature will be high
enough to drive (via the central thermoreceptors) the heat-
loss reﬂ exes at a rate such that heat loss once again equals heat
production. At this point, core temperature stabilizes at this
elevated value despite continued exercise.
(IL–1, IL–6, ? others)
Firing of neural
(IL–1, IL–6, ? others)
Plasma IL–1, IL–6, ? others
put on clothes
Heat production greater than heat loss
Pathway by which infection causes fever (IL-1 = interleukin 1,
IL-6 = interleukin 6). The effector responses serve to
temperature during an infection.
Thermal changes during exercise. Heat loss is reﬂ exly increased,
and when it once again equals heat production, core temperature