1. To find out whether the thermosensitive neurones in the preoptic area that control shivering are predominantly warm or cold sensitive, we tested the effects of injecting the excitatory amino acid L‐glutamate at various sites in and adjacent to the preoptic area of anaesthetized rats shivering at ambient temperatures of 15‐21 degrees C. 2. L‐Glutamate injections (0.2 mM in 0.5‐1.0 microliter), as well as preoptic warming and electrical stimulation, suppressed shivering, whereas control saline injections had no effect. Effective sites were restricted to the anterior part of the preoptic area, and a tenfold lower concentration of L‐glutamate did not influence shivering. 3. Injections of procaine (0.2 M) into the sites where L‐glutamate suppressed shivering did not affect strong shivering activity, but facilitated shivering in three out of seven cases when shivering was weak or absent at higher ambient temperatures (25‐30 degrees C). 4. L‐Glutamate injections, as well as preoptic warming and electrical stimulation, also elicited vasodilatation of the paw skin and the tail. Procaine elicited vasoconstriction when it was applied during vasodilatation induced by local preoptic warming. 5. These results indicate that the contribution of the preoptic area to the control of shivering and vasomotion is influenced more by signals from warm‐sensitive neurones than by signals from cold‐sensitive neurones.
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