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1 December 2008 The Influence of Ethnicity on Thermoregulation After Acute Cold Exposure
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Objective.—It is well established that a combination of factors, including ethnicity, may influence an individual's response to cold stress. Previous work from our laboratory has demonstrated that when faced with a cold challenge, there is a similar response in heat production between Caucasian (CAU) and African American (AA) individuals that is accompanied by a differential response in core temperature. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of ethnicity (CAU vs AA) on the thermoregulatory response after acute cold exposure (ACE-REC, 25°C air).

Methods.—Five AA males (20.8 ± 0.5 years) and 10 CAU males (25.6±4.9 years) underwent pre-experimental testing to determine Vo2max (AA = 37.2 ± 0.1 mL·kg−1·min−1, CAU = 44.3 ± 8.7 mL·kg−1·min−1) and body composition (AA = 14.6 ± 5.4%, CAU = 19.2 ± 5.0%). Participants underwent acute cold exposure that consisted of 120 minutes of exposure to 10°C air (ACE) followed by 120 minutes of recovery in 25°C air (ACE-REC). Rectal temperature (Tre) was measured via a rectal thermistor. Mean skin temperature (Tsk) was assessed with thermistors. Oxygen consumption (Vo2) was assessed via indirect open circuit spirometry. Rectal temperature and Tsk were measured continuously, and if Tre ≤ 35°C, testing was terminated.

Results.—Analysis of variance for ACE-REC revealed a significant main effect for Tsk across time (P < .001), Tre across time (P < .001), and Vo2 across time (P < .001). In addition, a significant time × ethnicity interaction was revealed for Tre (P = .008), Tsk (P = .042), and Vo2 (P = .019) during ACE-REC.

Conclusions.—Based on these data, there is a differential response between CAU and AA across time for Vo2, Tre, and Tsk ACE-REC.

Gregory S. Farnell, Katie E. Pierce, Tiffany A. Collinsworth, Leigh K. Murray, Rob N. Demes, Judi A. Juvancic-Heltzel, and Ellen L. Glickman "The Influence of Ethnicity on Thermoregulation After Acute Cold Exposure," Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 19(4), 238-244, (1 December 2008).
Published: 1 December 2008

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