Hypothalamic set point for body temperature

1. Temperature sensors on the skin and in the hypothalamus "read" the core temperature and relay this information to the anterior hypothalamus.

2. The anterior hypothalamus compares the detected core temperature to the set-point temperature.

a. If the core temperature is below the set point, heat-generating mechanisms (e.g., increased metabolism, shivering, vasoconstriction of cutaneous blood vessels) are activated by the posterior hypothalamus.

b. If the core temperature is above the set point, mechanisms for heat loss (e.g., vasodilation of the cutaneous blood vessels, increased sympathetic outflow to the sweat glands) are activated by the posterior hypothalamus.

3. Pyrogens increase the set-point temperature. Core temperature will be recognized as lower than the new set-point temperature by the anterior hypothalamus. As a result, heat-generating mechanisms (e.g., shivering) will be initiated.

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