Ultradian oscillations in brain temperature in sheep: implications for thermoregulatory control?

Andrea Fuller, Robyn S. Hetem, Leith C.R. Meyer, Duncan Mitchell, Shane K. Maloney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We compared body temperature patterns and selective brain cooling (SBC) in eight adult female sheep in an indoor (22–25 °C) and outdoor (mean ~ 21 °C) environment, by measuring brain, carotid arterial, and jugular venous blood temperatures at 5-min intervals using implanted data loggers. To investigate whether ultradian oscillations in brain temperature had thermoregulatory consequences for the sheep, we determined the cranial arterio-venous (AV) temperature difference as an indicator of respiratory evaporative heat loss (REHL). The 24-h pattern of SBC was similar in both environments, despite carotid blood temperature fluctuating 0.4 °C more outdoors compared to indoors. The sheep employed SBC more often during the night than during the day, but SBC was abolished at intervals of 1–3 h throughout the 24-h period. The suppression of SBC appeared to be associated with events that increased sympathetic nervous system activity, including shifts between stages of sleep. Short-term changes (over 5-min) in brain temperature were positively correlated with changes in the AV temperature difference 5 min later, and negatively correlated with changes in carotid temperature 10 min later. These data support the idea that increases in brain temperature modulate thermoregulation by increasing REHL, which leads to a decrease in carotid blood temperature. Ultradian oscillations in core temperature of sheep, therefore, appear to arise as a consequence of frequent brain temperature changes invoked by non-thermal inputs, in animals housed both in indoor and outdoor environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-138
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B: biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


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