Delayed threshold for active cutaneous vasodilation in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Diane E. Wick, Shelly K. Roberts, Ananda Basu, Paola Sandroni, Robert D. Fealey, David Sletten, Nisha Charkoudian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Epidemiological evidence suggests decreased heat tolerance in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), but it is not known whether the mechanisms involved in thermoregulatory control of skin blood flow are altered in these patients. We tested the hypothesis that individuals with T2DM have a delayed internal temperature threshold for active cutaneous vasodilation during whole body heating compared with healthy control subjects. We measured skin blood flow using laser-Doppler flowmetry (LDF), internal temperature (Tor) via sublingual thermocouple, and mean arterial pressure via Finometer at baseline and during whole body heating in 9 T2DM patients and 10 control subjects of similar age, height, and weight. At one LDF site, sympathetic noradrenergic neurotransmission was blocked by local pretreatment with bretylium tosylate (BT) to isolate the cutaneous active vasodilator system. Whole body heating was conducted using a water-perfused suit. There were no differences in preheating Tor between groups (P > 0.10). Patients with T2DM exhibited an increased internal temperature threshold for the onset of vasodilation at both untreated and BT-treated sites. At BT-treated sites, Tor thresholds were 36.28 ± 0.07°C in controls and 36.55 ± 0.05°C in T2DM patients (P < 0.05), indicating delayed onset of active vasodilation in patients. Sensitivity of vasodilation was variable in both groups, with no consistent difference between groups (P > 0.05). We conclude that altered control of active cutaneous vasodilation may contribute to impaired thermoregulation in patients with T2DM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-641
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Metabolic disorders
  • Sweating
  • Temperature regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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