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Title: Characteristics of the local cutaneous sensory thermo-neutral zone
Authors: Filingeri, Davide
Zhang, Hui
Arens, E.
Keywords: Thermo-neutral zone
Thermoreceptors
Skin
Temperature
Psychophysics
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: © American Physiological Society.
Citation: FILINGERI, D., ZHANG, H. and ARENS, E., 2017. Characteristics of the local cutaneous sensory thermo-neutral zone. Journal of Neurophysiology, In Press.
Abstract: Skin temperature detection thresholds have been used to measure human cold and warm sensitivity across the temperature continuum. They exhibit a sensory zone within which neither warm nor cold sensations prevail. This zone has been widely assumed to coincide with steady state local skin temperatures between 32-34ᵒC, but its underlying neurophysiology has been rarely investigated. Here we employ two approaches to characterize the properties of sensory thermo-neutrality, testing for each whether neutrality shifts along the temperature continuum depending on adaptation to a preceding thermal state. The focus is on local spots of skin on the palm. Ten participants (30.3±4.8 y) underwent two experiments. Experiment 1 established the cold-to-warm inter-detection-threshold range for the palm’s glabrous skin, and its shift as a function of 3 starting skin temperatures (26, 31 or 36ᵒC). For the same conditions, Experiment 2 determined a thermally neutral zone centered around a thermally neutral point in which thermoreceptors’ activity is balanced. The zone was found to be narrow (~0.98 to ~1.33ᵒC) moving with the starting skin temperature over the temperature span 27.5-34.9ᵒC (Pearson r=33 0.94; p<0.001). It falls within the cold-to-warm inter-threshold range (width: ~2.25 to ~2.47ᵒC) but is only half as wide. These findings provide the first quantitative analysis of the local sensory thermo-neutral zone in humans, indicating that it does not occur only within a specific range of steady-state skin temperatures (i.e. it shifts across the temperature continuum) and that it differs from the inter-detection-threshold range both quantitatively and qualitatively. These findings provide insight into thermoreception neurophysiology.
Description: This paper is in closed access until 1st Feb 2018.
Sponsor: This work was supported by the ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency25 Energy, DOE) DELTA (Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities) program under contract DE-AR0000529.
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1152/jn.00845.2016
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/24449
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00845.2016
ISSN: 0022-3077
Appears in Collections:Closed Access (Design School)

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