Effect of blood volume on sweating rate and body fluids in exercising humans

S. M. Fortney, E. R. Nadel, C. B. Wenger, J. R. Bove


Five relatively fit men performed cycle ergometer exercise (65–70% VO2max) for up to 30 min at 30 degrees C, 40% rh. The data from control (normo-volemic), hypovolemic [8.7% reduction in blood volume (BV) induced by diuretics], and hypervolemic [7.9% expansion of BV induced by infusion if isotonic serum albumin] tests revealed significant effects of BV on body fluid and sweating responses. During control exercise, BV decreased an average (+/- SE) 370 +/- 64 ml at 20 min. A significantly smaller loss occurred after 20 min of hypovolemic exercise (270 +/- 29 ml). The decrease in BV during 30 min of hypervolemic exercise (541 +/- 43 ml) was significantly greater than during control (421 +/- 50 ml). Blood volume reduction also significantly altered the control of sweating rate independent of changes in plasma osmolality. The slope of the sweating rate-to-esophageal temperature relationship (SR/Tes) was significantly reduced from the mean value of 1.07 +/- 0.16 and 1.09 +/- 0.18 mg X min-1 X cm-2 X degrees C-1 during control tests, measured from the chest and arm, respectively, to 0.64 +/- 0.11 and 0.63 +/- 0.11 mg X min-1 X cm-2 X degrees C-1 during hypovolemia. The SR/Tes slope was unchanged in hypovolemia over active tissues (calf). Hypervolemia had no effect on the control of sweating at any site. Both the body fluid and sweating responses during hypovolemia act to conserve circulating blood volume during exercise.