Author(s): Gordon CJ, Gordon CJ
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Abstract Environmental physiology is the study of the physiological mechanisms that allow animals to cope with and adapt to changes in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, and other natural factors of their physical environment. Nearly all toxicological and pharmacological studies are performed in resting (i.e., nonexercising) experimental animals acclimatized to standard environmental conditions that are usually considered ideal to the animal's physiological well-being. These ideal test conditions are clearly not representative of the fluctuations in the natural environment encountered by humans and other animals on a day-to-day basis. It behooves the toxicologist, especially those interested in extrapolating experimental data from laboratory animals to humans, to consider how variations in the natural environment will alter physiological responses to toxicants. Temperature and exercise are the two most well-studied parameters in the fields of environmental physiology and toxicology. In general, high temperatures exacerbate the toxic effects of many environmental toxicants. Moreover, exercising subjects are generally more vulnerable to airborne toxic agents. The prospect of global warming also warrants a better assessment of how higher environmental temperatures may impact on the response of humans and other species to toxic chemicals. Hence, this paper and accompanying papers from the proceedings of a symposium focus on the salient aspects of the interaction between environmental stress and physiological response to toxic agents with particular emphasis on temperature and exercise.
This article was published in Environ Res
and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology