The tail of a rat is one of the major effector organs in thermoregulation, aiding it to overcome excessive environmental heat. In addition, it also serves as a temperature-sensing organ. The importance of the tail's sensory role is demonstrated in tailess rats kept at various ambient temperatures, and in rats whose tail and body are exposed to different ambient temperatures. When the tail senses a cold ambient temperature (15°-0°C), the body temperature increases, even if the rat itself is kept at room temperature (20°C). d-Amphetamine treatment enhances the hyperthermia induced by the tail's exposure to cold temperature and causes an impairment of the tail's thermal sensory role.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
An organism can regulate its body temperature by behavioral responses, which tend to cool or warm the organism (Hart, 1971), or by modifying 1These studies were supported, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Public Health Service. They were carried out in Prof. R. J. Wurtman's Laboratory of Neuroendocrine Regulation, M.I.T., Cambridge, Mass.