Adrenergic responses to cognitive activity in a cold environment

J. R. Thomas*, S. T. Ahlers, J. F. House, J. Schrot, K. F. Van Orden, M. M. Winsborough, R. L. Hesslink, S. B. Lewis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Adrenergic responses during physical stress such as cold exposure have been reported to differ from those responses observed during cognitive activity. Both the separate and the combined effects of cold and cognitive activity on catecholamine activity were examined in six male subjects. Alterations in plasma epinephrine and norepinephrine showed different patterns as a function of exposure to a 4°C cold environment, a cognitive performance assessment battery (PAB), and the two conditions combined. Plasma epinephrine was not altered by exposure to cold and only slightly increased by PAB performance when given at 23°C. However, epinephrine was substantially elevated by exposure to combined cold and PAB. Heart rate changes paralleled observed changes in epinephrine. Norepinephrine release was predominantly increased by cold exposure and was not altered by PAB performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-966
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990


  • catecholamines
  • epinephrine
  • heart rate
  • norepinephrine
  • performance assessment battery
  • stress


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