Cellular dehydration acutely degrades mood mainly in women: A counterbalanced, crossover trial

Hyungyu Suh, Harris R. Lieberman, Lisa T. Jansen, Abigail T. Colburn, J. D. Adams, Adam D. Seal, Cory L. Butts, Tracie M. Kirkland, Olle Melander, Tiphaine Vanhaecke, Alberto Dolci, Guillaume Lemetais, Erica T. Perrier, Stavros A. Kavouras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


It is unclear if mild-to-moderate dehydration independently affects mood without confounders like heat exposure or exercise. This study examined the acute effect of cellular dehydration on mood. Forty-nine adults (55 % female, age 39 (sd 8) years) were assigned to counterbalanced, crossover trials. Intracellular dehydration was induced with 2-h (0·1 ml/kg per min) 3 % hypertonic saline (HYPER) infusion or 0·9 % isotonic saline (ISO) as a control. Plasma osmolality increased in HYPER (pre 285 (sd 3), post 305 (sd 4) mmol/kg; P < 0·05) but remained unchanged in ISO (pre 285 (sd 3), post 288 (sd 3) mmol/kg; P > 0·05). Mood was assessed with the short version of the Profile of Mood States Questionnaire (POMS). The POMS sub-scale (confusion-bewilderment, depression-dejection, fatigue-inertia) increased in HYPER compared with ISO (P < 0·05). Total mood disturbance score (TMD) assessed by POMS increased from 10·3 (sd 0·9) to 16·6 (sd 1·7) in HYPER (P < 0·01), but not in ISO (P > 0·05). When TMD was stratified by sex, the increase in the HYPER trial was significant in females (P < 0·01) but not in males (P > 0·05). Following infusion, thirst and copeptin (surrogate for vasopressin) were also higher in females than in males (21·3 (sd 2·0), 14·1 (sd 1·4) pmol/l; P < 0·01) during HYPER. In conclusion, cellular dehydration acutely degraded specific aspects of mood mainly in women. The mechanisms underlying sex differences may be related to elevated thirst and vasopressin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1092-1100
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 28 2021


  • Copeptin
  • Osmotic stimulation
  • Thirst
  • Underhydation
  • Vasopressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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