Journal of Applied Physiology

Acclimatization in a hot, humid environment: body fluid adjustments

L. C. Senay, D. Mitchell, C. H. Wyndham


Four trained men worked 4 h/day at 40–50% of their maximum aerobic capacity first for 3 days at 25 degrees C db, 18 degrees C wb and then for 10 consecutive days at 45 degrees C db, 32 degrees C wb. Between days 1 and 2 of heat exposure mean total circulating protein (TCP) and plasma volume (PV) increased 11.6% and 9%, respectively. Preexposure TCP and PV increased until day 6 of heat exposure. Of the protein fractions beta-globulins underwent the largest relative increase. During work movement of protein into and out of the vascular compartment was similar in control and acclimatizing subjects but the latter generally maintained a greater amount of protein and fluid within the vascular volume. There was no evidence of salt and water retention. The increase in vascualr volume was ascribed to transfer of interstitial protein and water to the vascular volume. Regression coefficients indicated significant correlations for changes in plasma volume versus heart rate, stroke volume, and cardiac output during acclimatization. It was concluded that the most critical event in heat acclimatization is the expansion of the plasma volume.