Central integration of thermoregulation occurs in the hypothalamus. The posterior hypothalamus compares input from core thermoreceptors in the anterior hypothalamic preoptic area with peripheral thermoreceptor input.
If the core temperature is in excess of the desired set point, physiological heat loss mechanisms are triggered by the anterior hypothalamus. Conversely, if the core temperature is less than the set point, heat gain systems are triggered by the posterior hypothalamus.
The set point is under the physiological influence of internal factors e.g. circadian rhythms, monthly rhythms in females reflecting hormonal cycles, and occasionally external factors e.g. acclimatization to hot environments. The set point may be pathologically changed in fever.
Last reviewed 01/2018