New advances in human thermophysiology: Review of Priego-Quesada

New advances in human thermophysiology: Review of Priego-Quesada

19/09/2022 By: Alejandro del Estal & Víctor Escamilla Galindo Home

Research on human thermophysiology and its applications to health and sports have only advanced in recent years. In this sense, Dr. José Ignacio Priego-Quesada has written a special issue in Life journal reviewing the scientific news in this regard.

Professor at the University of Valencia and researcher at the GIBD (Sports Biomechanics Research Group), Dr. José Ignacio Priego-Quesada, is one of the most prolific scientific authors on thermophysiology and thermography applied to exercise physiology (more than 100 publications). As an example of research carried out by him, we find the scientific validation of the ThermoHuman software and some studies on dynamic thermography (Priego-Quesada et al. 2020; Priego-Quesada et al. 2022b). In addition, this researcher is very close to ThermoHuman, so much so that he already has his own episode on our podcast, an interview in which he tells us about his thermography research experience in different sports.

The special issue of Life magazine can be found in free access format from this link. As a summary, we will highlight the most relevant points discussed in this publication:

Relevance of the study on extreme heat and sports performance

Most of the articles evaluate how the physiological response during or after exercise is affected by extreme environmental conditions (such as high temperatures, hot and humid environments, dehydration). In addition, it is an issue that worries society, since global warming is an established threat, impacting our environment.

Brown adipose tissue and thermophysiology

This is another of the current hottest topics in human thermophysiology, investigated in this Special Issue: the expression of brown adipose tissue. The factors that explain the activation of brown adipose tissue, in a situation of exercise or basal conditions, are of great interest, since it is a possible therapeutic target for people with obesity. There are in vitro models under investigation that appear effective in evaluating crosstalk between adipocytes and muscle contraction. This would explain, therefore, changes in the pattern of expression of proteins related to the browning of adipose tissue thanks to exercise (Nintou et al. 2021).

Homeostasis and extreme heat: how performance is reduced

Human body temperature must remain stable, regardless of the ambient temperature or humidity conditions, which is a challenge for human thermophysiology. This balance is more complex in environments of extreme heat. In extreme conditions the body must make special adaptations to respect homeostasis, so performance reduction is necessary. Research on thermophysiology under extreme heat is especially important in competitions that take place in extreme conditions, as we have seen at the Doha 2019 Athletics World Championships, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and we will see at the Qatar Soccer World Cup 2022. Especially when we know that heat and high humidity can reduce muscle recruitment as a method to prevent body hyperthermia (Baillot et al. 2021).

Strategies to reduce the effects of extreme heat on performance

Breathing hot air during exercise in a hot, humid environment has been shown to affect physiological and perceptual responses, decreasing performance and increasing discomfort. In these environments, methods to lower skin temperature or mimic cold sensations (menthol on the skin) during exercise are recommended. Also, a strong correlation has been discovered between the perception of thermal comfort and the behavioral regulation of thermal comfort (Cuddy et al. 2021; Baillot et al. 2021).

Regarding prevention strategies, it has recently been investigated whether the evaluation of changes in basal skin temperature could be a good indicator of muscle damage. Although some results have been promising, many other studies have shown that after a muscle damage protocol, a marathon, or a half marathon, there is no change in baseline skin temperature (Rojas-Valverde et al. 2021).


The purpose of this special issue is to highlight the most relevant works and the latest updates on human thermophysiology. Science must continue to provide knowledge on the bases of thermophysiology and thermoregulation of the human body, as well as measurement, methods and new applications. Advances have been made in the understanding of the physiological response during exercise in extreme heat environments, the evaluation of thermal comfort and the evaluation of the expression of browning of adipose tissue in vitro. From ThermoHuman, we can only thank Dr. José Ignacio Priego-Quesada, for this spectacular work of synthesis of current scientific news, in favor of the development and better understanding of human thermophysiology.


Baillot, M.; Hue, O.; Tran, T.T.; Antoine-Jonville, S. Neuromuscular Activity during Cycling Performance in Hot/Dry and Hot/Humid Conditions. Life 2021, 11, 1149.

Cuddy, J.S.; Hailes,W.S.; Ruby, B.C. A Reduced Core to Skin Temperature Gradient, Not a Critical Core Temperature, Affects Aerobic Capacity in the Heat. J. Therm. Biol. 2014, 43, 7–12.

Nintou, E.; Karligiotou, E.; Vliora, M.; Fatouros, I.G.; Jamurtas, A.Z.; Sakellaridis, N.; Dimas, K.; Flouris, A.D. Effects of In Vitro Muscle Contraction on Thermogenic Protein Levels in Co-Cultured Adipocytes. Life 2021, 11, 1227.

Priego-Quesada JI. New Advances in Human Thermophysiology. Life (Basel). 2022a Aug 18;12(8):1261.

Priego-Quesada JI, Catalá-Vilaplana I, Bermejo-Ruiz JL, Gandia-Soriano A, Pellicer-Chenoll MT, Encarnación-Martínez A, Cibrián Ortiz de Anda R, Salvador-Palmer R. Effect of 10 km run on lower limb skin temperature and thermal response after a cold-stress test over the following 24 h. J Therm Biol. 2022b Apr;105:103225. 

Priego-Quesada JI, Pérez-Guarner A, Gandia-Soriano A, Oficial-Casado F, Galindo C, Cibrián Ortiz de Anda RM, Piñeiro-Ramos JD, Sánchez-Illana Á, Kuligowski J, Gomes Barbosa MA, Vento M, Salvador Palmer R. Effect of a Marathon on Skin Temperature Response After a Cold-Stress Test and Its Relationship With Perceptive, Performance, and Oxidative-Stress Biomarkers. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2020 May 29;15(10):1467-1475.

Rojas-Valverde, D.; Gutiérrez-Vargas, R.; Sánchez-Ureña, B.; Gutiérrez-Vargas, J.C.; Priego-Quesada, J.I. Relationship between Skin Temperature Variation and Muscle Damage Markers after a Marathon Performed in a Hot Environmental Condition. Life 2021, 11, 725.

If you have any questions or would like to make a comment, do not hesitate to write to us. We will be happy to read you.

Europa Thermohuman ThermoHuman has had the support of the Funds of the European Union and the Community of Madrid through the Operational Programme on Youth Employment. Likewise, ThermoHuman within the framework of the Export Initiation Program of ICEX NEXT, had the support of ICEX and the co-financing of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

CDTI Thermohuman has received funding from the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), in participation with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), for the R+D activities involved in creating a new tool, based on thermography, for the prediction and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis. See project detail.