Journal of Applied Physiology

Chamber cold acclimatization in man

Thomas R. A. Davis


In March, ten nude subjects were exposed 8 hr daily for 31 days to an air temperature of 11.8 C. In September, another six subjects were similarly acclimatized to an air temperature of 13.5 C. Measurements were made of the responses of shivering, oxygen consumption, rectal temperature, and skin temperature to a standard cold exposure. By the 14th day, shivering in both groups decreased significantly. Heat production remained unchanged in the winter group but decreased in the summer group. Basal metabolism did not change in either group. In both groups, rectal temperatures were maintained at lower values after the exposure period. In the winter group extremity temperatures were unchanged; those in the summer group were lowered by a small amount. The decrease in heat production and mean surface temperature in the summer group is related to the seasonal difference in cold acclimatization. Failure of cold-elevated metabolism to decrease despite a highly significant decrease in shivering indicates the presence of nonshivering thermogenesis in man. It is concluded that man can be artificially cold acclimatized.


With the Technical Assistance of D. R. Johnston, F. C. Bell, W. Rawlings, and L. Lee

Submitted on May 8, 1961