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Thermosensory mapping of skin wetness sensitivity across the body of young males and females at rest and following maximal incremental running

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journal contribution
posted on 23.05.2019, 13:01 by Alessandro Valenza, Antonino Bianco, Davide Filingeri
Humans lack skin hygroreceptors and we rely on integrating cold and tactile inputs from Atype skin nerve fibres to sense wetness. Yet, it is unknown whether sex and exercise independently modulate skin wetness sensitivity across the body. We mapped local sensitivity to cold, neutral and warm wetness of the forehead, neck, underarm, lower back, and dorsal foot in 10 males (27.8±2.7y; 1.92±0.1m 2 BSA) and 10 females (25.4±3.9y; 1.68 ± 0.1m 2 BSA), at rest and post maximal incremental running. Participants underwent our quantitative sensory test where they reported the magnitude of thermal and wetness perceptions (Visual Analogue Scales) resulting from the application of a cold (5°C below skin temperature) wet (0.8ml water), neutral wet, and warm wet (5°C above skin temperature) thermal probe (1.32cm2 ) to 5 skin sites. We found that: 1) females were ~14 to ~17% more sensitive to cold-wetness than males, yet both sexes were as sensitive to neutral- and warm-wetness; 2) regional differences were present for cold-wetness only, and these followed a cranio-caudal increase that was more pronounced in males (i.e. the foot was ~31% more sensitive than the forehead); 3) maximal exercise reduced cold-wetness sensitivity over specific regions in males (i.e. ~40% decrease in foot sensitivity), and it also induced a generalised reduction in warm-wetness sensitivity in both sexes (i.e. ~4 to ~6%). For the first time, we show that females are more sensitive to cold wetness than males, and that maximal exercise induce hygro-hypoesthesia. These novel findings expand our knowledge on sex differences in thermoregulatory physiology.

History

Published in

The Journal of Physiology

Volume

597

Issue

13

Pages

3315-3332

Citation

VALENZA, A., BIANCO, A. and FILINGERI, D., 2019. Thermosensory mapping of skin wetness sensitivity across the body of young males and females at rest and following maximal incremental running. The Journal of Physiology, 597 (13), pp.3315-3332.

Publisher

Wiley © The Authors, The Journal of Physiology, The Physiological Society

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: VALENZA, A., BIANCO, A. and FILINGERI, D., 2019. Thermosensory mapping of skin wetness sensitivity across the body of young males and females at rest and following maximal incremental running. The Journal of Physiology, 597 (13), pp.3315-3332, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1113/jp277928. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Acceptance date

14/05/2019

Publication date

2019-06-02

Copyright date

2019

ISSN

0022-3751

eISSN

1469-7793

Language

en