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Infrared thermography is an effective, noninvasive measure of HPA activation.

Authors
  • Ouyang, Jenny Q1
  • Macaballug, Paul1
  • Chen, Hao1
  • Hodach, Kristiana1
  • Tang, Shelly1
  • Francis, Jacob S1
  • 1 Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2021
Volume
24
Issue
5
Pages
584–589
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/10253890.2020.1868431
PMID: 33480292
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Infrared thermography (IRT) is increasingly applied as a noninvasive technique for measuring surface body temperature changes related to physiological stress. As a basis for validation of IRT as a tool for diagnostic use, we need to assess its potential to measure hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity. We used experimental manipulations of the HPA axis in house sparrows (Passer domesticus), i.e. adrenal tissue responsiveness to exogenous adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and the efficacy of negative feedback using the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone (DEX), to test whether IRT is an effective tool for measuring HPA reactivity. Experimental birds showed a pronounced decrease in skin temperatures after ACTH injection and an increase in temperature after DEX injection. However, individual variation in glucocorticoid levels were not related to skin temperatures except after ACTH injection in experimental birds. We show that IRT can be used to measure HPA reactivity but that skin-temperature is not a good index for glucocorticoid secretion at baseline levels. These results suggest that while IRT of skin temperatures is a useful, noninvasive measure of HPA axis reactivity under acute activation, this technique might not be suitable for measuring natural variation of circulating glucocorticoid levels.

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