Sex difference in cerebral blood flow velocity during exercise hyperthermia

Eric Rivas, Kyleigh N. Allie, Paolo M. Salvador, Lauren Schoech, Mauricio Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Cerebral blood flow and thermal perception during physical exercise under hyperthermia conditions in females are poorly understood. Because sex differences exist for blood pressure control, resting middle cerebral artery velocity (MCAVmean), and pain, we tested the hypothesis that females would have greater reductions in MCAvmean and increased thermal perceptual strain during exercise hyperthermia compared to males. Methods: Twenty-two healthy active males and females completed 60 min of matched exercise metabolic heat production in a 1) control cool (24.0 ± 0.0 °C; 14.4 ± 3.4% Rh) and 2) hot (42.3 ± 0.3 °C; 28.4 ± 5.2% Rh) conditions in random order, separated by at least 3 days while MCAvmean, thermal comfort, and preference was obtained during the exercise. Results: Compared to 36 °C mean body temperature (Mbt), as hyperthermia increased to 39 °C Mbt, females had a greater reduction in absolute (MCAvmean), and relative change (%Δ MCAvmean) and conductance (%Δ MCAvmean conductance) in MCAVmean compared to males (Interaction: Temperature x Sex, P ≤ 0.002). During exercise in cool conditions, absolute and conductance MCAvmean was maintained from rest through exercise; however, females had greater MCAVmean compared to males (Main effect: Sex, P < 0.0008). We also found disparities in females' perceptual thermal comfort and thermal preference. These differences may be associated with a greater reduction in partial pressure of end-tidal CO2, and different cardiovascular and blood pressure control to exercise under hyperthermia. Conclusions: In summary, females exercise cerebral blood flow velocity is reduced to a greater extent (25% vs 15%) and the initial reduction occurs at lower hyperthermia mean body temperatures (~38 °C vs ~39 °C) and are under greater thermal perceptual strain compared to males.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102741
JournalJournal of Thermal Biology
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Brain blood flow
  • Cardiovascular response
  • Heat stress
  • Thermal perceptual strain
  • Thermoregulation


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